Don’t look now, but the fall season is coming to its twilight. The three smaller classifications wrapped up volleyball in one fell, chaotic swoop last week, and soccer is coming to a close Saturday. In between, there was one last Selection Sunday this past weekend, for 2A, 3A, and 4A volleyball. Here’s how it went locally.
A trip to the district title game probably would have made it a little less nervy for Kelso, but the Hilanders still manage to avoid a play-in game with the No. 12 seed, guaranteeing themselves at least two matches Thursday.
The bad news for the Hilanders is that across the three tournaments last week, there were just two upsets in the first round. The better news is that that number jumped up to nine in the second round, proving that once a few would-be cinderellas with automatic bids get sent home and the field gets down to the eight or 10 or 12 top sides, rankings can go out the window, and nobody in this bracket has seen the Hilanders play yet.
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Would Kelso over Mt. Spokane be an upset? Yes. But with how good it’s looked at times this year, with how well the Hilanders have played in tournaments this year, and with how strong Bella Hadaller — who had 54 kills in two matches Saturday — is playing right now, would it really be incredibly surprising? Probably not.
Forget Tenino girls soccer, forget Toppenish football. The seeding committees went out with the bad sort of bang, because a week after a fair few controversial choices, Mark Morris volleyball got dealt the worst hand out of any team, in any sport, at any classification.
Out of 56 opening-round games — taking into account play-ins and first rounds without a play-in — 55 managed to keep teams from the same league apart from each other. The lone exception? 2A No. 1 Columbia River vs. No. 16 Mark Morris, in a matchup that nobody is that happy about.
Now, top seeds are far from untouchable; 1A No. 1 Overlake lost in the first round to No. 16 Lynden Christian, and 1B No. 1 Oakesdale needed a furious comeback to fend off No. 8 Naselle. But those matchups were between two teams that knew nothing about the other, from different corners of the state. Here, on the contrary, it’s the third matchup between the Monarchs and the Rapids, after River swept the first two — the second one coming in not-particularly-close fashion.
Any other opponent, and Mark Morris — whose five losses all came against teams also going to Yakima — would have been a very tantalizing underdog. This one, though, would be the upset to end all upsets, with the Monarchs having to overcome a top seed that’s already had their number.