High School Sports

Nooksack Valley Pioneers volleyball preview

Coach: Katie Emmons

Last year: 11-10 overall, 6-6 NWC (seventh place). ... Advanced through the Class 1A Northwest District Tournament to tri-district after defeating Mount Baker, Friday Harbor and South Whidbey. ... Topped Life Christian Academy in the first round of tri-district, before falling to South Whidbey and Forest Ridge to end the season.

Players to watch: Mariah Perry (Sr., L); Avery Tenkley (Sr., M); Abbi Steele (Sr., S); Katrina Gimmaka (Fr., RS).

Outlook: Emmons won’t quite know what she has in her team until after the first few matches, as she has quite a bit of turnover from last year’s roster. “We have a brand new team, basically,” she said in a phone interview. “We have a lot of new girls in the mix, and it’s really getting to know how each other plays.” She has three returning seniors in Perry, Tenkley and Steele that will provide the leadership for the Pioneers this season. “They’ve been working really hard, and they provide a lot of consistency for us,” said Emmons of her three returning leaders. Thus far, Gimmaka, just a freshman, has come in and impressed the coaching staff with her talent and athleticism on the right side, providing some much-needed power to go up against some of the tough front-line defenses in the NWC.