It’s one thing to be picked to win a state championship when you come into the event undefeated and ranked No. 1. It’s quite another when you are unranked and a third seed out of your district.
But that’s the onus which has been placed on the Archbishop Murphy volleyball team as it prepares for the 2A state playoffs Friday and Saturday at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.
The 4A tournament runs concurrent with the 2A. The 3A tournament is Thursday and Friday.
The Washington Volleyball Coaches Association has tapped Murphy as its choice to win the 2A title. Emerald Ridge coach Tanya Campbell, who conducts the polling for the coaches association, said the Murphy selection was based upon the Wildcats’ tournament draw. The coaches think Murphy has a clear route to the championship despite the fact there are five top-10 teams in its half of the bracket.
“I am flattered that some highly respected coaches believe that we can compete with the best teams in the state.” Murphy coach Jim Hardy replied in an email. “The speculation adds to the fun of the whole experience — and gives the parents something to talk about! And yes, I think we belong in that discussion, along with several strong programs with great records in the tournament.”
Murphy opens against Grandview, No. 6 in the final regular season poll, and could face No. 3 Tumwater in the quarterfinals or No. 1 Lynden in the semifinals.
“I like our team and know that we will play hard and well, but I would have to rate us as the underdog in the first round match with Grandview,” Hardy wrote. “I don’t know much about them yet, but they have earned the respect of anyone in the state. I can’t project any farther than that, except to note that either Fife or Tumwater will make a tough second-round matchup if we are fortunate enough to get past the Greyhounds.”
The coaches must know something. They successfully picked two of last week’s three champions in the 1A, 2B and 1B tournaments. They missed the 2B champ, picking La Conner, Tekoa-Oakesdale and Colfax 1-2-3. Colfax won followed by La Conner and Tekoa-Oakesdale. They correctly named six of the top eight teams in the 1A and 2B events and five in the 1B.
The coaches like No. 10 Auburn Mountainview in the 3A tournament, relegating No. 1-ranked Sumner to third place. They don’t expect Wesco qualifiers Meadowdale and Shorecrest to finish in the top eight. Meadowdale opens against Holy Names. Shorecrest, which placed fourth last year, opens against the aforementioned Auburn Mountainview.
In the 4A tournament, the coaches see Monroe falling to No. 1-ranked Lewis &Clark in the final. Monroe, ranked No. 6, starts with Rogers of Puyallup.
They have Wesco South champ and District 1 runner-up Edmonds-Woodway finishing fifth. The Warriors begin with Lewis &Clark.
The coaches don’t see Marysville-Pilchuck in the top eight. The Tomahawks play Curtis in the first round.