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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 November 6 - 12, 2002


At state, you 
gotta have heart

WRHS (1-2) at state volleyball

Wood River High School volleyball coach Tim Richards stayed all day Saturday and watched the amazing Shelley Russets play during the State 3A volleyball tourney in Burley.

He was impressed. Richards said, "Shelley played with the most incredible team heart I’ve ever seen. They did what we wanted to do—go all the way to the final. And they did it playing only six players all day."

Shelley (30-6) battled valiantly, playing five matches and 23 games Saturday and making it all the way to its first state championship match before falling to mighty Preston 21-19, 21-16, 16-21, 23-25, 15-12.

The Russets had forced a deciding match of the eight-team double elimination tournament with a 21-11, 21-14, 13-21, 17-21, 15-7 victory over Preston. Volleyball fans certainly got their money’s worth from the duel.

Preston (37-9), sparked by the smackdowns of senior Beth Maseuli (25 kills in the deciding match), won the fifth state title for 22nd-year coach Launa Moser—but the first for the Indians since their 1994-95 repeat.

Wood River (21-15), a young team with six juniors and three seniors, finished in the middle of the pack behind the clearly dominant eastern Idaho trio of Preston, Shelley and third-place Bear Lake (21-11).

Handing Wood River its losses were five-time defending state champion Bear Lake by scores of 21-13, 16-21, 21-14, 21-16 early Friday morning, and Shelley 21-12, 21-19, 18-21, 21-19 on Saturday morning.

Wood River, its eight-match winning streak snapped by the clever tips and dinks of Bear Lake Friday, handily beat Bonners Ferry (19-10) by scores of 21-13, 21-12, 17-21, 22-20.

Richards said, "We were disappointed we were so close against Bear Lake and Shelley because we knew we could have been there—it was just a matter of experience. We learned we still have a lot of work to do.

"It was a successful, positive season. We reached our goals to a certain extent. Most of our losses were to 4A and 5A teams, which indicates we can compete with anybody."

Against Bear Lake, Wood River’s defense was clearly unprepared for the court vision of dinkers Katie Cammack and setter Cynthia Kropushek, and the Wolverines were also unsettled by some of the officiating.

"Bear Lake was tipping us around. All they could do was tip and dink. They couldn’t swing at us, because we put up a great block," said Richards. "We were also whistled for 11 lifts, against only one for Bear Lake."

Juniors Jessica King (9 kills), Charli Lindley (6 kills), Natalie
Green (4 kills, 4 blocks) and Liz Rippon (5 kills, 4 blocks) led the net troops, while Aubrey Kirtley finished with 11 service points (2 aces).

In the second-game victory Wood River broke a 12-12 tie behind the forceful play of Rippon (4 kills, 3 blocks) and King (3 kills). But Bear Lake’s senior hitters Erika Mecham, Brandi Olson and Josie Vouros helped the Bears to insurmountable leads in the third and fourth games.

Wood River got over its opening-match disappointment and polished off Bonners Ferry’s Badgers in four games Friday evening. Everybody got to play for Hailey, Richards said, and they all played well in the triumph.

King (7 kills) and Green (6 kills) put the ball on the floor while senior Whitney Richards (21 serves, 12 assists) dished up the grapefruits that Hailey needed to stay alive. Kirtley (17 serves, 2 aces) and Emily Smith (7 assists, 3 kills) pitched in, too.

Three of the four games against Shelley were settled by three or fewer points. Richards said, "We were serving at 19-19 in the second game, then a lift call went against us at 19-19 in the fourth game. We should have had both of those games."

Whitney Richards (18 assists, 15 serves) led the way in her final Wolverine match, while King had 15 huge kills on 33 attempts and Lindley 7 kills on 23 tries. Kirtley (14 serves), Smith (4 kills) and Rippon (4 kills, 3 blocks) topped the stat sheet as well.

Shelley had lots of weapons including 6-0 senior middle Gretchen Shumway, who Richards said clearly carried the Russets with 14 kills and 10 blocks in the finale against Preston. But Preston handed Shelley its only two losses—both in five games.

Coach Richards paid tribute to his oldest daughter, 5-7 setter Whitney, whose return from a knee injury in early October fueled Hailey’s late-season drive to its state tourney trip.

He said, "Whitney did a really nice job, playing at 50 or 60% of what she can do."

Wood River’s team banquet is Saturday, Nov. 9 at the middle school.

In other state action:

Eagle (39-3) claimed its first 5A championship, beating Idaho Falls (29-14) twice; Sandpoint (35-1) lost only four 4A games in taking the school’s 11th state volleyball title; Nampa Christian (24-3) captured its third straight 2A title; and Troy (31-3) won its seventh state championship over two-time 1A champion Genesee.



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