Volleyball teams in Snohomish County started a five-week sprint this week as players took the court for competition for the first time in over 15 months due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The shortened campaign won’t include a postseason, and schedules have been designed to limit travel and create competitive matchups.
Here’s some teams, players and games to watch throughout the season:
Teams to watch
Lake Stevens: The Vikings are coming off a program-best second-place finish at the Class 4A state tournament where they fell 3-1 in a tightly contested title match against Tahoma. Lake Stevens graduated only one senior from that team and has won four straight Wesco 4A titles. The Vikings will look to continue their success without star Samaya Morin, The Herald’s 2019 Volleyball Player of the Year. The Grand Canyon University signee has opted out of playing this season. Four all-league performers return for Lake Stevens.
Arlington: The Eagles earned a program-best sixth-place finish at the 3A state tournament a season ago after running through Wesco 3A/2A play with a perfect 14-0 mark. Arlington graduated just three players from last season’s team and returns a pair of first-team all-league selections. The Eagles enter this season with a new coach, Lauren Amundson, after the departure of The Herald’s All-Area Coach of the Year, Whitney Williams.
Jackson: The Timberwolves boast an experienced roster that features eight seniors and a pair of returning all-league players. Jackson, which finished second in Wesco 4A, fell one win shy of a state-tournament berth last season after dropping a five-set match against Eastlake in the 4A Wes-King Bi-District tournament.
Snohomish: The Panthers made their third straight state tournament appearance last season after finishing second in Wesco 3A/2A and making a run to the 3A Northwest District title match. Snohomish graduated just two seniors last year and is led by a pair of all-league returners.
Stanwood: The Spartans failed to reach the 10-win mark for the first time since 2014 last season while featuring a sophomore-heavy roster. With a number of players returning this year with varsity experience, Stanwood is a strong candidate to re-emerge as one the area’s top teams.
Players to watch
Sarah Campfield, sr., MB, Snohomish: Campfield posted 2.3 kills, 1.2 blocks and .5 digs per set as a key piece of a Panthers team that made it to the quarterfinals of the 3A state tournament. She was a second-team All-Area selection and made the All-Wesco 3A/2A second team.
Michelle Fast, sr., S, Lake Stevens: Fast dished out 7.9 assists per frame and added 2.0 digs per set while helping the Vikings to a program-best second-place finish at the 4A state tournament. She was a first-team All-Area selection and earned first-team All-Wesco 4A honors.
Erin Ingram, sr, OH, Jackson: Ingram delivered 2.8 kills per set while helping the Timberwolves finish second in Wesco 4A last season. Her efforts earned her a first-team All-Wesco 4A selection.
Maggie McGinness, sr., S, Edmonds-Woodway: McGinness averaged 7.3 assists, 1.4 digs and 0.4 aces per set for a Warriors squad that notched 13 wins last season. She was a second-team All-Wesco 3A/2A selection.
Emily Mekelberg, jr., OH, Arlington: Mekelberg returns after playing an integral role in the Eagles’ program-best sixth-place finish at the 3A state tournament. She was a first-team All-Wesco 3A/2A selection. Her 12 kills led Arlington in a three-set victory over Marysville Getchell to open the season.
Meg Perry, sr., RS, Glacier Peak: Perry averaged 8.0 kills per match on a .212 hitting percentage and added 1.4 blocks per game as a junior. She was second-team All-Wesco 4A selection.
Tatum Smith, sr., OH, Lake Stevens: Smith posted 2.8 digs, 2.0 kills and 0.4 aces per frame as a member of the Vikings last season. The Concordia University signee was a second-team All-Wesco 4A selection.
Surina Soumpholphakdy, sr., DS/L, Lynnwood: Soumpholphakdy provided the Royals with stellar defense as a junior while averaging 7.6 digs per set. She was a first-team All-Area selection and garnered first-team All-Wesco 3A/2A honors.
Karli Tri, sr., MB, Lake Stevens: Tri posted 1.8 kills and 0.6 blocks per set as a part of a Vikings squad that fell just short a 4A state title last season. The Western Washington University signee was a first-team All-Area pick and a member of the All-Wesco 4A first team.
MacKenzie Whyte, sr., OH, Snohomish: Whyte delivered 4.4 kills per set with a .320 hitting percentage and added 4.7 digs and 1.1 aces per frame while earning first-team All-Area honors as a junior. She helped Snohomish to its third straight 3A state tournament appearance and earned first-team All-Wesco 3A/2A honors.
Games to watch
Stanwood at Arlington, March 15, 7 p.m.
The Stilly Cup rivalry match will have an added twist this year as both teams are coached by sisters who starred for the Spartans before going on to successful college careers. Megan Amundson, head coach at Stanwood, will face off with her older sister, Lauren, who joins Arlington this season after coaching at the college level for several years. The Eagles have won the past two matchups in this series.
Jackson at Lake Stevens, March 17, 7 p.m.
The Timberwolves were the only Wesco 4A squad that was able to topple the eventual state runner-up last season, handing the Vikings a 3-1 loss to split the season series. Both schools entered this season with experienced, senior-heavy teams.
Lynnwood at Edmonds-Woodway, March 24, 7 p.m.
These Edmonds School District foes meet in a match of the school district’s top returning squads. The senior-heavy Royals will have a chance to avenge a loss to the Warriors in the 3A Northwest District tournament that ended their season.
Lake Stevens at Arlington, March 29, 7 p.m.
The defending Wesco 4A and Wesco 3A/2A champions meet in a season-finale matchup that could ultimately prove which local team is the best in the area. Both squads return a number of talented players from teams that delivered record-setting performances in 2019.
Glacier Peak at Snohomish, March 29, 7 p.m.
This game marks the first time that these Snohomish School District rivals will meet on the volleyball court since 2013. It’s a fitting season finale with town bragging rights on the line.