Consistency is what the Wood River High School varsity volleyball team is striving for, coach Tim Richards said.
And the Wolverines achieved some consistency and took two giant steps toward their first-ever Great Basin Conference West tournament title Monday night in Hailey.
Top-seeded Wood River (21-12) stayed unbeaten in league play this season by knocking off #4-seeded Minico 25-9, 25-15, 25-20 and #2-seeded Jerome 25-18, 25-18, 25-18 on the first day of the four-team tournament.
League runner-up the past two seasons, Wood River sought the 19th district volleyball championship in school history and its 19th trip to the state volleyball tournament when the two-day district wrapped up Tuesday in Hailey.
"We can do better and we're working on it," said Richards. "One thing we have is a real balanced offense that can make adjustments because we have three or four girls who can set. If we stay consistent, we'll get better the next two weeks."
Tuesday's tournament winner automatically qualifies for the State 4A tournament Oct. 27-28 at Kimberly High School. The runner-up can only advance to state by winning two state play-in matches Thursday and Saturday, Oct. 19 and 21.
If Wood River won the district title Tuesday night, the Wolverines will play one more state seeding match Thursday at a location dependent on tournament results in southeastern Idaho's Fifth District.
Wood River athletic director Ron Martinez said that if Preston beats Century for their district title, Preston will host Wood River Thursday for the Great Basin's top seed to state. If Century beats Preston, then Wood River will entertain Century Thursday for the #1 spot.
It's an important match Thursday, since the loser will likely draw the #2-ranked Skyview Hawks of Nampa in the first round of next week's State 4A tournament. Skyview is trying for its third straight Third District championship Thursday in the Boise area.
The Wolverines didn't waste much time winning Monday.
After taking care of Minico, Wood River showed its many weapons against defending district champion Jerome.
Top hitters were Elissa Baker (10 kills), Kelsey Lidstrom (9 kills), Hannah Gove (8), Lauren Morgenthaler (4 kills, 2 blocks), Hannah Ward (5 kills) and Leah McIlhenny (5 kills, 3 blocks). McIlhenny (22 assists) and Casey Vegwert (20) led the Wolverine passers.
Vegwert (12 winning serves, 4 aces), Lidstrom (9 serves) and Gove (8 serves, 3 aces) were the top servers. Topping Jerome were Megan Parrish (13 kills, 3 serves), Jordan Burnham (8 kills, 5 serves) and setter Katherine Twitchell (21 assists).
At Carey Monday, the host Carey Panthers (8-17) disregarded their sixth seed and upset the #3-seeded Dietrich Blue Devils 28-30, 25-22, 17-25, 25-23, 15-12 in the first round of the seven-team Northside 1A Sub-District tournament.
Second-seeded Shoshone, which emerged unbeaten Monday along with top-seeded Richfield, then relegated Carey to the loser bracket with a three-game win. Earlier, the #4-seeded Community School Cutthroats (6-8) lost a tight five-game match to #5-seeded Camas County of Fairfield.
Action at Carey wrapped up Tuesday night as reigning state champion Shoshone tried to defend its Northside title.