High school volleyball teams around the state of Washington get the nod to begin playing on Thursday.

Pomeroy will be the first team around the Walla Walla Valley in action right away on Thursday at a jamboree in Clarkston.

The rest follow soon afterwards.

Walla Walla High, College Place, DeSales and Prescott get their respective seasons underway on Saturday.

Walla Walla Valley Academy and Touchet go at it on Monday.

And Dayton-Waitsburg starts on Tuesday.

Oregon schools got underway last week.

Here are season previews for each local Washington team.


Walla Walla Blue Devils

League: Class 4A Mid-Columbia Conference

Coach: Tracy Rotert

Last year: 12-6 overall, 10-4 in the league (third place)

Departures: Noelani Helm (all-state, MCC Player of the Year), Makenzie Frost, Ellie Sievertsen, Alicia Newcomb, Lindsey Ruff.

Returning players: Hannah Hair (all-state, All-MCC first team), Isabelle Gardea, Sarah Wilson, Morgan Sucharda, Monica Miller, Kaiya Lynch.

Additions: Addisson Baker, Makenna Mosher, Jade Ilada, Mya Wood, Emma McGuire, Rebekah Merca.

Coach Rotert: “I am excited about the group we have this year as we have a great mix of experienced seniors and new, young, incredible athletes. Every year we are striving to get back to the state tournament, and after last year’s heartbreaking loss, I believe we have even more fire in us this year. We are focusing on our serve receive and having many different offensive threats in order to be a top tier team. I believe everyone in this group truly loves the game and wants to get better every day while enjoying an awesome sport. I hope fans will come support us throughout the season, and get the chance to see some amazing volleyball.”


College Place Hawks

League: Class 1A-5 South Central Athletic Conference East

Coach: Angie Potts

Last year: 10-7 overall, 7-5 in the league (third place)

Departures: Maddi Weaver (All-SCAC second team), Lexi Mullen, Chloe Brown, Lexi Shumate.

Returning players: Ellie Christensen (All-SCAC first team), Makayla Thomas (All-SCAC honorable mention), Vanessa Rodriguez, Kristin Lara, Vanessa Carrasco, Susanna Bauman, Cali Long, Madi Neil, Hollie Christensen.

Additions: Maeve Thompson, Zoe Hardy, Josie McMillan.

Coach Potts: “I’m really excited for this season and have some pretty high expectations for our team this year since our goal is to finish better than we did last year. We return nine players from last year’s team that finished third in the league so we’re going to be able to put kids on the floor who have already seen a fair amount of varsity playing time. The girls are working hard in practice and pushing themselves, as well as their teammates, to continue to get better.”


DeSales Irish

League: Class 2B-5 Eastern Washington Athletic Conference

Coach: Steve Ruthven

Last year: 1-14 overall, 0-8 in the league (ninth place).

Departures: Sadie Jones (All-EWAC honorable mention), Josie Kjeldgaard.

Returning players: ​Emily Ness (All-EWAC honorable mention); Avery Klein, Katie Hermann, Mary Elizabeth Baloff, Maddie Wahl, Natalia Balderas.

Coach Ruthven: “It will be an exciting year for the Lady Irish volleyball team. This year’s team is fairly young with only three returning upper classman. Those players make a good base for the team by bringing solid skills, energy and leadership. Adding to that base is the experience of the returning underclassmen. Seven additional freshmen will bring their energy as they compete for varsity playing time.

“Through summer play there was excellent progress made by the team. We had several round-robin matches, and we competed well in all. Coupling the great energy and enthusiasm of the players with continued improvement in our skills and how we play as a team, the Irish will have some fun and have the ability to be competitive within our league.”


Walla Walla Valley Academy Knights

League: Class 2B-5 Eastern Washington Athletic Conference

Coach: Robin Browning (2018 EWAC Coach of the Year).

Last year: second at regionals; 18-4 overall, 8-0 in the league (EWAC champs)

Departures: Gabrielle Browning (All-EWAC first team), Anja Cole (All-EWAC second team), Lauren Larson (All-EWAC honorable mention), Breanna Scully.

Returning players: Sahara Browning (All-EWAC first team), Jessica Mitchell (All-EWAC honorable mention), Macyn Scherger, Kaylene Wells, Jia Willard, Celeste Santellano.

Additions: Amanda Kitto, Jade Atkins, Joslin Haggins, Rylee King.

Coach Browning: “After a season like last year, and graduating four starting seniors, we are looking at a drastically different dynamic on our court. I am excited about the potential and drive of the girls that are returning, and the options for growth that we have with our incoming players this year. This is a group of girls that is cohesive and loves to play. I am expecting good things to develop with this young team as we continue to work intentionally together through the season.

“We are always shooting for the stars. We had high hopes last year for not only our second state appearance, but to also score some wins. We have to get tougher and believe in our skill set on the court in every situation. We will keep pushing to become a team that competes at state as well as competes in life. Here we come 2019. Can’t wait to push the envelope even further.”



League: Class 2B-5 Eastern Washington Athletic Conference

Coach: Tara Brenner

Last year: 10-13 overall, 6-2 in the league (third place).

Departures: Tatum Laughery (All-EWAC first team, Kaleigh White (All-EWAC second team), Mya Wood, Neylan Bryan, Devon Harshman, Shaelyn Fortier.

Returning players: Amy Farley, Sadie Seney, Teagen Larson, Elise Steinhoff, Trinity Abel, Kailyn Lewis, Kirsten Miller.

Additions: Kaylene Slack, Kaylee White, Claudia Benavides, Mackena Culley, Cassidy Laughery, Megan Forney.

Coach Brenner: “Wow! It is going to be a fun and exciting season. I am excited to see where this talented group of young ladies is going to go with all their potential. We had a great summer to play together, which gave us a chance to build a bond to really create a respectful team. These athletes possess tons of fighting spirit and a never-quit attitude which makes coaching these ladies an awarding experience. I encourage everyone to keep an eye on team DW. We will be breaking stats and giving all our spectators a great reason to be entertained by the sport.”


Touchet Indians

League: Class 1B-9 Southeast

Coach: Mim Jaggar

Last year: 5-11 overall, 3-9 in the league (fifth place).

Departures: Madisyn Gallaher.

Returning players: Cloey Frazier, Emmaleigh Olson, Emily Skramstad, LeAnn Kincaid, Ashley Luna, Thanya Mendoza, Areli Orozco, Rosetta Renwick, Saige Smith.

Additions: Deisy Angeles, Hannah Dial, Noemi Hernandez, Emily Ortiz, Briana Andrade, Emily Hilbert, Tanya Luna, Parker McLaughlin.

Coach Jaggar: “We play in a competitive league, however our girls put in a lot of time this summer, attending camps and working on skills.  We have a well rounded team due to the girls’ off-season efforts, and are looking forward to a successful 2019 season.”


Prescott Tigers

League: Class 1B-9 Southeast

Coach: Bob Young

Last year: 3-13 overall, 2-10 in the league (sixth place).

Departures: Marci Ayala, Nayeli Flores, Briseida Ayala.

Returning players: Vianey Granados, Frida Gonzalez, Jena Rowlette, Karina Quiroz, Adelita Benito, Angeles Ayala, Michell Morales.

Additions: Alexa Madrigal, Fatima Becerra, Kimberly Escalante.

Coach Young: “We have a good group of girls. They get along and genuinely like each other. We are young but talented. We hope to capitalize on their cohesiveness to accelerate their experience curve. I expect us to get better and better throughout the season. We should be playing our best ball in the second half, that’s how it is supposed to be.”


Pomeroy Pirates

League: Class 1B-9 Southeast

Coach: Amy Smith

Last year: Fourth at state; 28-4 overall, 10-2 in the league (second place).

Departures: Sydney Smith (All-SE1B, all-state tournament first team), Deana Caruso (All-SE1B, all-state tournament first team), Carmen Gingerich (All-SE1B, all-state tournament second team), Makayla Miller, Nikki Halbert.

Returning players: Maddy Dixon, Heidi Heytvelt, Jaden Steele, Teagan Steele, Sydney Watko, McKenzie Watko, Alyssa Wolf.

Additions: Keely Maves.

Coach Smith: “I expect us to be competitive in our league again this year. This is a special group of athletes who have been playing multiple sports together for a very long time so we will be relying quite a bit on our chemistry. In addition to losing several seniors, we will be filling a huge void in the setter position. Emma Severs suffered a knee injury this summer and is out for the season. We have a few options as several players have stepped up to learn this position already. This is an extremely hardworking group, and I believe they will rise to the challenge. At this point, our goal is to fit all of the pieces together to find the strongest line up to put out there to compete. Although we are just three days in as far as practices go, I have seen a lot of promise. The girls are excited for the challenge.”

Hector writes stories about local sports, helps produce the daily section and updates the web site. A lifelong sports nut having grown up in Maryland, he joined the U-B with more than 15 years experience in journalism.

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