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Statewide Volleyball Midseason Report
With the postseason just around the corner, get caught up on the best volleyball teams in the state
Published: 9/30/2019 1:37:25 PM
Katie Knight
Staff Writer

Check out our volleyball photo galleries from across the state here.

5A Classification
Even the largest schools in the state aren’t immune to injuries and setbacks. Madison found itself without standout player Charity Wilson, out with an ACL injury, and is looking to Sidney Parker to fill the gap. 

Head Coach Meranda Maestas said her team is looking forward to the tough schedule coming in the next couple weeks. She is relying heavily upon the experience of Lexi Weaver and Parker as they lead a group of young players, including freshman setter Kinley Kerbs, who Maestas says is “getting better every day.”  

In order to have continued success, Weaver said she is making sure her team is “being positive and building each other up, on and off the floor.”   
The defending state champions will have their hands full with Thunder Ridge nipping at their heels.  

The talented Distritct-III houses Eagle, Timberline, Mountain View and Skyview, all in contention for a district title. 

Lake City, meanwhile, is “starting to find rhythm offensively and defensively,” said Head Coach Michael Summers on his 5-1 squad. Summers said his team earned a big win over cross-town rival Coeur d’ Alene, which helped his team gain confidence.

The Timberwolves are led by senior captain Janae Rayborn, who said her team has a “focus on family philosophy and making sure everyone understands their value and contributions.”  

4A Classification

Among all the chaos of 4A play, the high level of play by Century remains a constant.  

This year, the Diamondbacks are hoping to defend their state title, but have already encountered challenges from their own conference. 

Preston was able to pull off an upset, marking its first victory at Century since 2006.  The Indians are the only team to beat the No. 1-ranked Century so far this season. Head Coach Karaska Haskell said she is encouraged by her team setting their sights high for the end of the season.  

“All 10 varsity players have made huge gains on the court,” Haskell said.

College of Idaho commit Emily Vanderberg is leading the Wood River Wolverines with “dominance,” according to Head Coach Kristyn Rutland. Rutland has her team focusing on mental toughness and understanding success cannot come without failure. That mindset came in handy with a big win over Burley, their first in six seasons.

3A Classification

Sugar-Salem established itself as one of the best in 3A play by defeating dominant teams like 5A Thunder Ridge while also sweeping both Filer and Firth.  

Filer is giving their conference rivals tough competition, but will have to get past Gooding to earn a title.  The Senators “look different than in the past,” according to Head Coach Tricia Adkinson, who said her team is “defensive-oriented and really scrappy.”  

This new and young team has placed in the top three of both their tournaments.  As a three-year starter, Kassie Adkinson is leading her team in digs and kills, but said her focus is to help her team stay positive.

“Whenever we stay positive, we play our best,” Adkinson said. “If one person gets down, we have eight girls that help pick them up.” 

With a team motto of, “Alone we can do so little, together we can achieve so much,” Kellogg is another group choosing to challenge itself.  After pulling an upset at 5A Lewiston, Kellogg stands undefeated in conference play.

2A Classification

Playing in the Peg Peterson Tournament allowed Malad to beat several 4A schools, with the strong competition serving as valuable experience for the Dragons. They also notched a notable and decisive 3-0 sweep over rival Soda Springs.  

Camie Tripp, head coach for the Dragons, said her team is ready for the competition.

“We’ll have to play hard no matter the matchup and we can’t overlook anyone,” Tripp said.  

Tripp relies on four-year starter and setter Bayla Tripp, as well as senior dig-leader Mesa Paskett and senior middle blocker Ella Ward, who leads the team in kills and blocks. 

Tripp said she understands how to create success, as she explained her team is “practicing hard every day, doing the little things, building each other up and going into each game focused and motivated.”  

Firth is ready and willing to knock off the defending champion Dragons. They have six returners, all making big contributions in their own roles. Elda Park, Firth head coach, said her team is “very focused and determined.”  Seniors Hailey Gee, Jordyn Adams and Kaydee Park are teaming up with juniors Kiley Mecham, Liberty Park and Hailey Barker to create a strong core with plenty of experience on the court.  

The result is a team who Park says “trusts each other. We are very confident going into conference play.”  

1ADI Classification

Coming in at 8-1 overall, with their only loss to 4A Moscow, the Troy volleyball team is creating another memorable season. District-II is always loaded with competition, but so far the Trojans are 5-0 in league play. 

“We are hoping to capture league and district titles in a very competitive league,” said Troy Head Coach Deborah Blazzard.

Blazzard said she is relying heavily on senior Lindsey Kwate, who is “making an all-around impact as her ability to see the court better and hit more strategically has improved.”  

“We know we are playing hard for one another, so we never let a ball drop and expect the same of all the players around us,” she said. 

Genesee continues to chase Troy’s success with a 4-1 record in league play, their only loss coming against the Trojans. They also have notable wins over larger schools, beating 3A St. Maries and Timberlake, as well as 1A rivals Prairie and Lapawai.  

Molly Hanson and Regan Zenner contributed their success up to this point from a work-filled offseason. 

The Ambrose Archers are 8-1 overall and undefeated in conference play at 7-0.  Rhonda Smith, head coach for Ambrose, said even though her team is “relatively young and inexperienced, they have shown incredible improvements since August.”  

Anchoring her team is senior leader and outside hitter Kenna Hughes, who Smith said is “one of our most consistent players in all aspects of the game and a leader that other girls look to throughout the match.” 

1ADII Classification

Watersprings topped the statewide coaches poll, and for good reason as they hold a 14-0 record, beating 4A Skyline and 3A Buhl on their way to win the Skyline Classic in Idaho Falls.  They are also undefeated in conference play at 6-0.  

Having middle blocker Abigail Yadon return from her ACL injury has been helpful as Head Coach Robyn King said “she hits through and over blocks and is an incredible natural talent.”  

Senior setter Joanna Hayes, meanwhile, brings “strong serving and formidable blocking,” according to King. 

Yadon says her team is focused on “keeping attitudes lighthearted on the court.  We let mistakes roll off our shoulders and laugh them off.”  The team is also crediting their close bonds on and off the court as they look to stay on top of their conference and gain momentum heading into the state tournament.

Salmon River is using its experience and toughness this season to forge its way back to the state tournament. The Savages are 4-1 overall and earned notable wins over Garden Valley and Tri Valley.  Senior Emily Diaz has been playing through dental surgery but still manages to lead her team.

Along with Diaz, Lotus Harper and Lexi Pottenger are experienced leaders for the Savages.  Head Coach Paula Tucker said she knows her team needs to remain focused and “will have to be on point every game, as there is some tough competition in the league this year.” 

Sofie Branstetter is one major impact player Tucker said she relies on. 

“She is playing smart, tough and confident,” Tucker said. 

Lion Head Cocah Tobie Helman said her Lighthouse Christian squad has relied on senior setter Macie Halloway to get her team back to the state tournament in Lewiston.


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