The Ferndale, Lynden, Lynden Christian and Sehome volleyball teams all qualified for their respective state tournaments and will open play Friday.
The Class 3A tournament will be held at the Toyota Center in Kennewick, the Class 2A tournament will be at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey and the Class 1A tournament will be at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
Here’s a quick look at all four teams:
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Class 3A: Ferndale Golden Eagles
Coach: Patti Hoelzle
State appearances (last): 14 (2016)
State trophies: Three
State titles: One (1986)
Road to state: Finished second in the NWC (12-1); swept Lynnwood and Snohomish in the first two rounds of the 3A Northwest District Tournament and beat Stanwood 3-2 for the district title.
First-round opponent (record): Stadium (14-7)
The second-ranked Golden Eagles placed eighth at state last year, but are looking for even more this season. Though there’s not a senior on the roster, Ferndale is remarkably seasoned, relying on players such as junior middle blockers Rylee Weg and Grace Kildall, junior outside hitter Kylie Honrud and junior setter Hailey Pelton, among others.
Class 2A: Sehome Mariners
Coach: Kristy White
State appearances (last): 15 (2014)
State trophies: Six
State titles: None
Road to state: Finished tied for 10th in the NWC (4-9), but won three straight matches over Mountlake Terrace, Liberty and Archbishop Murphy to advance to the 2A bi-district tournament championship match, before suffering a 3-0 loss to Burlington-Edison.
First-round opponent (record): Spokane East Valley (11-6)
Not many people expected the Mariners here after they lost three straight matches to end the regular season – though those losses were to state-bound Lynden Christian, Burlington-Edison and Ferndale. Setter Haley Wilson is the only senior on the team. Outside hitter Cameron Hodges and middle Aspen Garrison had strong matches in the district title match.
Class 2A: Lynden Lions
Coach: Chris Elsner
State appearances (last): 21 (2013)
State trophies: Seven
State titles: None
Road to state: Finished fifth in the NWC (9-4); after a first-round win over Lakewood, lost 3-0 to Burlington-Edison in the district semifinals, but swept a winner-to-state match against Blaine and the third-place match over Liberty.
First-round opponent (record): North Kitsap (16-1)
Elsner returned to the program after eight years away and leads a group that seemed relaxed entering its big match against Blaine. The third-ranked Lions, who have three seniors on their roster, rely on a number of different players, including outside hitters Isabelle Jacob and Abi Broussard, setter Kyla Bonsen, and middles Savonne Sterk and Faith Baar, who was a mid-season call up.
Class 1A: Lynden Christian Lyncs
Coach: Kim Grycel
State appearances (last): 24 (2016)
State trophies: 18
State titles: Two (2014, ’15)
Road to state: Finished third in the NWC (11-2); won the 1A Northwest District title with victories over South Whidbey and King’s and beat Overlake 3-0 to claim the 1A bi-district title.
First-round opponent (record): Freeman (14-3)
The third-ranked Lyncs, who are making their 21st straight trip to state, hope to reach the state championship match for a third straight year. LC definitely has the talent to contend with players, such as middle hitters Torina Hommes and Jacci Plenkovich, setter Sofie Fransen, outside hitter Gracelyn Weg and libero Kelsie Otter. Watching their coach enter the Hall of Fame shouldn’t hurt either.