Lady Goats finally win state volleyball championship
After 16 appearances, the Lady Goats are finally State Champions
By Richard Uhlhorn
After an incredible season of volleyball that culminated in a CTL Championship, one loss at the Regional Tournament (against Colville) and the 16th trip to the State Volleyball Championships in Yakima, the Lady Goats succeeded in bringing home the State Championship trophy that had alluded them up to the 2010 tournament.
Last year and in two other years, the Lady Goats took second place and a third place. To win a state championship is very special for the coaches and players alike. This year the team, headed by WSU bound senior Jaicee Harris, came together with a game that was well rounded.
Throughout the season, several things about the Goat’s game stood out. The first was serving. The Lady Goats compiled an incredible percentage at the service line, never falling below (90 percent). In match after match against other opponents, opponent serving helped propel the Goats to wins.
In addition, Chelan’s defensive skills were tough to get around. Not much got by the Chelan defense which translated into excellent passing and a frontline offense headed by Harris and Darcy Austin that was hard to fight against. In the middle, Courtney Dietrich became a wall for those opponents trying to spike through her. She ranged left and right and was imposing to hitters on the other side of the net.
Coach Donene Hendricks and her assistants Connie Poirier and Joanne Strandberg know how to bring out the best in their young charges. This year is a great example of each coaches abilities. Each team from Strandberg’s ‘C’ Squad and Poirier’s JV squad to Hendrick’s varsity came through the 2010 season undefeated in league.
“I’m going to miss the seniors,” said Hendricks. Hendricks was pleased with how the three seniors stepped up at the state tournament. “Cari Williams put down four crucial kills in the Kings match and she had a lot of touches that slowed the ball down.”
At the Regional Tournament, Chelan lost one match to Colville, but beyond that, the Lady Goats were almost perfect.
They entered this year’s State 1A Volleyball Championships ranked number one and despite the sports pundits predictions, rolled over each opponent, losing only one set in the entire tournament.
In the championship match, Chelan rolled over last year’s defending state champions, Kings, in three games 25-23, 25-20, 25-18. Kings coach commented on one forum that Chelan was not only well rounded as a team, but was definitely the best team at the tournament this year.
Senior Jaicee Harris had 19 kills, 14 digs and 4 blocks to lead the way, but junior Darcy Austin added 7 kills and 10 digs to the final match. Leading the blocking against King’s hitter was Courtney Dietrich who came up with 7 blocks and 3 kills of her own.
Without passing, the ability to hit the ball means nothing. Young Abby Phelps came up big with 21 assists and 8 kills. In the back court Maghara DePaoli dut out 15 and was 16/16 at the service line.
The big game for Chelan this year was in the semi-finals against Lynden Christian. It was the only match that Chelan lost a game at the tournament. “They had big fire power and are an amazing team. So big and hard to get around. It was a great match to get ready for the championship match.”
Chelan will lose only three seniors this year: Jaicee Harris, Cari Williams and Bree Burton, which means that Chelan will be back in the hunt next year for repeat championship. “It will be different next year,” said Hendricks. “We have some great kids coming up through the program.”
Hendricks stated that the majority of teams at the state tournament were young. “There is a lot of fire power coming up.” She sees Cedar Park as the big contender next year. “They have a hitter that is built like Jaicee.”
A big congratulations for Hendricks as she was once again selected as the Caribou Trail League Coach of the Year. Jaicee Harris received Player of the Year honors along with being selected for 1st Team-All League honors along with Courtney Dietrich and Darcy Austin. Abby Phelps as a freshman received 2nd Team-All League as did Olivia Plew. Maghara DePaoli received an Honorable Mention.
Game 1 – Chelan v Kalama 25-17, 25-16, 25-16
Game 2 – Chelan v Connell 25-21, 25-12, 25-19
Game 3 – Chelan v Lynden Christian 25-21, 21-25, 27-25, 25-23
Game 4 – Chelan v Kings for the Championship 25-23, 25-20, 25-18.