High School Sports

Here’s what you need to know about Whatcom County’s four volleyball teams bound for state

Fernale's Hailey Pelton, from left, Lynden's Ahi Broussard, Lynden Christian's Sofie Fransen and Sehome's Sehome's Lex McGowan lead their teams into the state volleyball tournaments this weekend.
Fernale's Hailey Pelton, from left, Lynden's Ahi Broussard, Lynden Christian's Sofie Fransen and Sehome's Sehome's Lex McGowan lead their teams into the state volleyball tournaments this weekend. The Bellingham Herald

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:

1109 Ferndale VOL
Burlington-Edison’s Afton Field, left, and Tessa Martinson attempt to stop a spike from Ferndale’s Kylie Honrun during an Oct. 18 match. Ferndale will face Stadium in the first round of the Class 3A State Tournament Friday in Kennewick. Paul Conrad For The Bellingham Herald

Class 3A: Ferndale Golden Eagles

Ferndale

Record: 16-1

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.

1109 Sehome VOL
Sehome’s Cameron Hodges returns a serve from Burlington-Edison during the 2A bi-district tournament championship game Nov. 4 at Lynden. The Mariners will face Spokane East Valley in the first round of the Class 2A State Tournament Friday in Lacey. Paul Conrad For The Bellingham Herald

Class 2A: Sehome Mariners

Sehome

Record: 8-11

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.

1109 Lynden VOL
Lynden’s Savonne Sterk dives to save a return from Blaine during a winner-to-state match of the 2A bi-district tournament Nov. 4. The Lions face North Kitsap in the first round of the Class 2A State Tournament Friday in Lacey. Paul Conrad For The Bellingham Herald

Class 2A: Lynden Lions

Lynden

Record: 13-5

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.

1109 LC VOL
Lynden Christian’s Gracelyn Weg, left, and Kelsie Otter fo for the ball against Squalicum during a Sept. 27 match. The Lyncs open the Class 1A State Tournament Friday in Yakima against Freeman. Paul Conrad For The Bellingham Herald

Class 1A: Lynden Christian Lyncs

LC

Record: 15-2

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.

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