Defending champ: King’s
Key storyline: Will King’s lose a league game?
Recent history would suggest no. The Knights haven’t lost a Cascade Conference game since Oct. 27, 2009.
That loss to Archbishop Murphy, sent the Knights on a bit of a tailspin, but they righted the ship and backed into the state tournament with a low seed. Once they got there, seeding didn’t matter as the Knights went on to win the state championship for the second consecutive year. They played in the state championship match in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
“We trust the system that we have put in place and we are working hard to keep up the tradition that the teams in the past have made for us,” Fransen said.
Despite how impressive it might be, the Cascade Conference streak isn’t something that head coach Jeff Fransen and his players focus on.
“We try and take care of the things that we know how to do and let the results take care of themselves,” Fransen said. “I can’t say we really feel pressure for that. We know that a lot of things can happen volleyball and we just try to control the things that we can control.”
The Knights outlasted Cedarcrest for the league championship a year ago and South Whidbey and Archbishop Murphy should both test the Knights in 2013 as well.
“I feel like every year the teams in our conference our better,” Fransen said. “I certainly expect that this year as well.”
Players to watch
Caroline Hoban and Sami Hayward, Archbishop Murphy hitters
Junior Caroline Hoban is a returning first-team all-conference outside hitter that coach Andrew Ness said is a strong all-around player with good ball control and the ability to attack hard out of the back row.
Hoban will be joined on the frontline in 2013 by freshman Sami Hayward, who Fransen expects to have a breakout year. Her strong arm and range on the court should make her difficult for other teams to handle.
Together, Hoban and Hayward should help the Wildcats improve on their 7-7 finish in league a year ago.
“With the combo we should be able to hang with just about anyone,” Ness said. “They give us the combination of finesse and power.”