First-round matchups: Mount Vernon vs. Jackson at Edmonds-Woodway, Monroe vs. Snohomish at Lake Stevens H.S., both 4:30 p.m.; Lynnwood at Edmonds-Woodway, Kamiak at Lake Stevens, both 6:30 p.m.
Defending champ: Jackson
Favorite: Snohomish. The Panthers finished in a three-way tie for the Wesco 4A regular-season championship with Edmonds-Woodway and Lake Stevens, each school with just one league loss. The Panthers loss came to Edmonds-Woodway, the Warriors loss came to Lake Stevens and the Vikings loss came to Snohomish. A preseason draw for numbers determined the seeding, Edmonds-Woodway getting the top seed, Lake Stevens second and Snohomish third. If there is any edge between the three schools, it ever-so-slightly goes to Snohomish. The Panthers boast arguably the best outside hitter in the state in Lanesha Reagan, who has the ability to take over any match. Reagan gives the Panthers the edge in what should be a very competitive district tournament.
Dark horse: Jackson. This is based more off matchups than anything else. Jackson has the No. 4 seed giving the Timberwolves a first-round matchup with Mount Vernon, a team they defeated in the regular season. A second victory over the Bulldogs would set up a meeting with the No. 1 seed, Edmonds-Woodway for a spot in the district championship. Jackson lost to Edmonds-Woodway on Monday in five sets, but proved more than capable of hanging with the Warriors. Other teams to look out for are Kamiak and Monroe, but both teams would likely have to beat both Lake Stevens and Snohomish to advance to the district championship, which could prove to be a tall order.
Key players: Lanesha Reagan, OH, Snohomish; Kahlia Kelliher, OH, Lake Stevens; Kendall Swanson, OH, Lake Stevens; Payton Locknane, OH, Jackson; Julia Hutchison, L, Edmonds-Woodway; Sidney Eck, MB, Edmonds-Woodway; Maddy Young, OH, Kamiak.
Quick Prediction: Snohomish defeats Edmonds-Woodway 3-2 to win the district championship (both teams to state); Lake Stevens defeats Kamiak 3-2 in the third-place/loser-out match.
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