|Tuesday, September 16, 2008|
East Valley cleans up in Auburn
Dorr and Knights volleyball both fare well
East Valley volleyball coach Jim Dorr got his fill of Hawaiian cuisine and his players feasted as well, winning last weekend's Puget Sound Adidas Invitational Tournament in Auburn, Wash.
This was the Knights' third trip to the PNW, put on by Auburn Mountainview coach Momi Bowles, and first title. Dorr became friends with Bowles when she coached at University and North Central before moving west.
"Momi's mom liked me and she makes special meals for me when I go over there," Dorr said. "She dragged me out of the gym to eat her chicken teriyaki."
However, he said, the Knights were sky high after winning 15 of 16 games in eight matches, beating Kamiak in the semifinals and the hosts in the finals for the championship. Kamiak was fourth in state 4A a year ago.
Fifteen of 24 entrants were state qualifiers last year and eight were ranked in the top 10 of their classifications.
The title came on the heels of learning that veteran middle blocker Brie Schau would be sidelined with a stress fracture. The idea of winning the tournament, Dorr said, wasn't even a consideration.
Then, "things were going well, we went for it and it went good for us," he said. "Our defense was extraordinary. Our intensity had been lacking a bit, but it didn't lack at all there."
Kirsten Kelly and Justine Simpson in the back row, he said, "were just outstanding," with their ability to read, play and pass the ball. Amanda Hiebert was strong defensively at the net.
The Knights finished 4-4 in league last year and were a win away from state. They graduated but two players from that team. After winning the tournament they were ranked No. 1 in this week's coaches' poll.
But as usual, there's a tough Greater Spokane League to negotiate. Mead and Lewis and Clark are first and third in the 4A poll and Shadle Park is third in 3A.
"The GSL is not a friendly league," Dorr said. "It's always been this way and you've just got to survive it. If you get to go to state you know you'll do well because you've played against the best all fall long."
The Highlanders lost in the semifinals of the Puget Sound tournament, just missing a title match with EV and finished fourth.