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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of Oct 30 - Nov 5, 2002


A happy group of Wolverines get their first touch of the 2002 district championship trophy after their four-game win over Filer last Wednesday on the Hailey floor. Front row, from left, Rachael Richards, Syringa Stark and Liz Rippon. Back row, from left, assistant coach Gary Carr, Christina Arpp, Jessica King, Charli Lindley, Kelsea Ballantyne, head coach Tim Richards, Aubrey Kirtley, Whitney Richards, Emily Smith, Natalie Green and assistant coach Dena Babcock. Express photo by David N. Seelig

District banner stays 
in Wood River

Third straight volleyball title for Hailey

The scoring system changed. The head coach changed.

What didn’t change for the Wood River High School volleyball team was the final result of the Fourth District 3A tournament that has become a Hailey domain for 18 years.

Coach Tim Richards’ #2-seeded Wolverines (20-13) held off the challenges of #1 Buhl and #3 Filer to win last week’s Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference tourney in unbeaten fashion on the Hailey hardwoods.

It was Wood River’s third consecutive SCIC title, eighth district crown in the past nine years—and 18th overall since Hailey came into volleyball prominence with back-to-back state championships in 1977-78.

Whitney Richards (left) goes to the floor for a dig in Wednesday’s SCIC championship match against Filer, as teammates Aubrey Kirtley (center) and Charli Lindley lend their support. Express photo by David N. Seelig

And it earned Wood River the worst possible draw in the State 3A tournament Nov. 1-2 at Burley High School. Wood River goes against five-time defending state champion Bear Lake Friday at 9 a.m.

Other first-round state match-ups: Middleton vs. Bonners Ferry at 10:30 a.m.; Shelley vs. Filer at noon; and Lakeland vs. Preston at 1:30 p.m. If Wood River loses to Bear Lake, the Wolverines play again at 4 p.m. Friday. If they win, it’s 5:45 p.m.

Last year in Coeur d’Alene, Bear Lake (34-6) downed St. Maries (27-3) for the State 3A championship. Wood River went two-and-out with losses to Shelley and Lakeland.

This year Fifth District champion Bear Lake and Wood River have played once—the Bears winning 15-8, 15-8 during pool play at the Wood River Invitational in Hailey Sept. 21.

But enough of the challenges looming ahead.

Wood River made it eight straight match victories, taking care of #1 Buhl 21-15, 22-20, 14-21, 21-19 last Tuesday and Filer 21-15, 21-19, 19-21, 21-14 in Wednesday’s SCIC championship match.

An outstanding team effort paved the way for the Wolverines, led by junior Jessica King (25 kills on 64 attacks in the two matches) and the setting of senior Whitney Richards (34 sets in the two triumphs).

In Tuesday’s Buhl match, Wood River convincingly won the first game 21-15, but needed to rally from a 14-11 deficit for the 22-20 second-game victory. Timely blocks by Liz Rippon and Natalie Green put Wood River over the hump after a 20-20 tie.

Rippon (10 kills on 23 attacks) pounded 6 kills in the third game, but Wood River’s usually reliable serving deserted the home team and Buhl stayed alive 21-14. But the green-and-white power returned in game four.

King (11 kills, 2 blocks) had 5 big kills in the decisive fourth game and Emily Smith (8 kills, 16 sets) added 3 more. Whitney Richards finished with 20 sets and 13 digs as Wood River broke a 15-15 tie and held off Buhl 21-19. Charli Lindley had 6 kills, too.

Filer’s four-game victory over Buhl in Wednesday’s semi-final put the Wildcats into the championship match. In its current eight-match winning streak, Wood River won three tough matches against Filer.

The Wolverines, a young squad with only three seniors on the 11-player roster, had to contain the strong hitting of Wildcat seniors Janae Hymas, Christina Brown and Niki Peterson. And Filer was possibly too pumped up in the early going.

Wood River marched to a 10-1 lead on the serving of Whitney Richards (7 of her team-high 17 service points in the first game) and Aubrey Kirtley (4 service points, 12 game). A kill by Emily Smith and block by Natalie Green (7 kills, 4 blocks) finished off the 21-15 first-game win.

Showing the difficulty of coming through the loser bracket, weary Filer started to have serving problems in the second game and Wood River prevailed 21-19 behind the all-around play of Jessica King (14 kills, 6 blocks, 6 service points, 4 digs).

Filer stayed alive 21-19 in the third game as Wolverine coach Tim Richards made sure to get all his players into the championship match.

Two aces served by Kirtley put Wood River ahead 9-5 in the decisive fourth game and the champs never looked back. Green and King each pounded 4 kills, and Whitney Richards (14 sets, 6 digs) was a star all over the court in her home finale.

Charli Lindley (5 kills) also served three winners in the final game and Wood River celebrated an undefeated run to the 2002 SCIC championship.



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