By John McDonald
Will this be the year a Western Conference team survives pool play in the Class 4A volleyball state tournament?
The omens are not auspicious.
The tournament gets underway with pool play today at the Spokane Arena and any Wesco team hoping to reach Saturday’s quarterfinals must win two of three matches in its four-team pool. No Wesco team has accomplished the feat in recent memory.
Meanwhile, the Class 3A tournament is being conducted at St. Martin’s College in Lacey, the 2A and A events are being held at the Sun Dome in Yakima and the B meet is being played at Eastern Washington University in Cheney.
Marysville-Pilchuck, ranked No. 10 in the state coaches’ poll, was accorded the best chance until it suffered a costly loss to Snohomish in the Northwest District semifinals. Unbeaten to that point, the Tomahawks go into state as a fourth seed in a pool that includes No. 2 Mead as the first seed and unranked Auburn-Riverside and Kentridge as second and third seeds.
Surprise district champion Stanwood, a fourth seed going into the district tournament, is seeded No. 1 in its pool with unranked Inglemoor, No. 7 Emerald Ridge and unranked Lewis and Clark.
It would be a major understatement to say that district runnerup Snohomish, unranked in the poll, has drawn the short straw. The Panthers are seeded second in a pool with No. 1 Kentlake, No. 4 Eisenhower and No. 9 Bethel.
In the 3A competition, district runnerup Lynnwood is a second seed in a pool with No. 2 Seattle Prep and unranked West Valley of Yakima and Holy Names.
In the 2A competition, Granite Falls, third in the district tournament, goes in as a fourth seed in a pool with No. 1-ranked Lakeside, No. 5 Ephrata and unranked Ridgefield.
Class A teams King’s and Coupeville are in the same pool with No. 3 Colfax and unranked Ilwaco.
Class B tri-district champion Darrington, sixth in the poll, is a top seed in its pool with unranked Lyle, No. 7 Ritzville and unranked Wahkiakum.