LYNDEN CHRISTIAN LYNCS
How they got there: Finished third at bi-district tournament
Last time: Took fifth place at state in 2006
Players to watch: OH Brianne Ryan, Sr.; RH Kelsie Meenderinck, Sr., MB Kaeli VanZonneveld, Sr.
Outlook: The Lyncs enter as a No. 3 seed, but find themselves on the better half of the bracket. First-round opponent Connell will be a challenge, but should Lynden Christian get past the Eagles, the Lyncs could go deep. The Lyncs are making their 11th straight trip to state, and that experience will help. There’s some pressure to bring home a 10th straight trophy, but it’s nothing the Lyncs can’t handle.
Prediction: Lynden Christian should get another trophy, though it could be tough to repeat last season’s fifth-place hardware.
NOOKSACK VALLEY PIONEERS
How they got there: Finished second at bi-district tournament
Last time: Took seventh place in 2002
Players to watch: MB Erika Ramstead, Jr.; OH Aubrey Lambert, Jr.; MB Melissa Burke, Jr.
Outlook: The Pioneers pulled a tough opening round draw in Chewelah, which is coming off a sixth-place finish last season. Still, Nooksack Valley pulled some upsets to get this far, and there is no reason to think they can’t keep doing it. Playing teams like King’s and Lynden Christian during the regular season and postseason should have them ready for state.
Prediction: The Pioneers are lacking state volleyball experience, but many of the players have been in other sports. A trophy could be within reach.
How they got there: Finished second at Northwest District Tournament
Last time: Took eighth place at state in 2006
Players to watch: OH Jessi Roberts, Jr.; MB Averyl Shindruk, Jr.; S Alayna Kramme, Jr.
Outlook: Lynden is a bit of a wildcard at state despite going through the season with just two losses up to this point. The Lions have the talent to contend for a title, but they probably aren’t good enough to win with anything less than their best. Woodland should be a good draw in the opening round, but after that the Lions have a tough road. If Lynden can get through its half of the bracket it could win a championship.
Prediction: Lynden will bring home a trophy; the big question is which one it will be?
MOUNT BAKER MOUNTAINEERS
How they got there: Finished fourth at Northwest District Tournament
Last time: Took second at state in 2005
Players to watch: S Courtney Van Brocklin, Sr.; MB Arahka Rozeboom-Gunderson Sr.; MB Brianna Wilson, Sr.
Outlook: Mount Baker had to fight its way into the tournament and now the Mountaineers will be looking to recapture some of that magic from 2005. While that season’s runner-up finish could be tough to replicate, Mount Baker could have enough talent to get to at least the semifinals. The Mountaineers’ journey starts with Fife, and if they can get that first one, there’s no telling how deep they could go.
Prediction: Mount Baker’s should be playing on the second day.