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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 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 October 1 - 7, 2003


Volleyball team
on fire in SCIC

Unbeaten results in a busy week

Express Staff Writer

In a matter of six days last week, the Wood River High School varsity volleyball team established itself as this year’s "team to beat" in the always-tough Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference (SCIC).

Carey sophomore Amy Olsen, now nursing a tender ankle, pounds one over the net. Express photo by David N. Seelig

As it says on the team’s roster/program brochure, Wood River was simply on fire. Relying on six strong seniors, the Hailey squad may be the team to beat in the entire 3A state.

Coach Tim Richards’ Wolverines (15-8) ripped off four SCIC wins and improved their league record to 6-0—with only two matches against Filer and one against Buhl and Declo left.

In six league wins, Wood River has lost only one game.

Monday in Hailey, Wood River took care of its chief SCIC rival, the Gooding Senators, for the second time in five days. Like an unstoppable train, the Wolverines pounded the Senators in the three-game minimum 25-12, 25-14, 25-21.

It was almost no contest.

Wood River came at Gooding from so many angles and with so many weapons that the Senators were at first mystified, and finally flummoxed, in trying to find the ways to attack the Wolverine defense.

There weren’t any ways Monday, chiefly because Wood River’s defense led by the relentless digs of co-captain Liz Rippon didn’t allow any balls to hit the floor. Rippon was immense. So were her teammates in keeping the ball in play.

Leading Wood River (35 kills) on its impressive attack were Charli Lindley (11 kills), Natalie Green (9), Jessica King (6) and Emily Smith (5).

The laser-like Hailey serving was nearly as balanced and prolific—King putting down 18 winners, Smith 14, Rippon 13, Rachael Richards 12, Green 9 and Lindley 8.

You don’t win without blocking, and Wood River put together one of its best blocking efforts with the leaps of Emily Smith, Rippon, Lindley, Richards and Green. The setting was killer, too—Richards had 14 assists and Smith 13.

Whenever Gooding threatened to put together a rally, which didn’t happen often, Wood River countered by picking up the speed of its attack. The Hailey girls put the hammer down and never let the Senators back into the match.

It was a powerful display, one that had many observers dreaming about a possible state championship—which would be Wood River’s first in 25 years since Hailey won in 1978.


At Hillcrest tourney

Wood River came into Monday’s match against Gooding after a fine team effort at the highly-competitive Hillcrest tournament in Idaho Falls last weekend.

"The girls played really well against a succession of state tournament teams," said second-year coach Richards.

Although the Wolverines won only two of their six matches, they pushed some of the best bigger-school teams in the state down to the final point. "It was a chance for us to show we can play with anyone in the state. The girls met the challenge," the coach said.

The Wolverines made the championship round and ended up in fifth place out of 12 teams—and ranked higher than traditional Gem State 3A powers Preston and Bear Lake.

Friday in pool play, Idaho Falls held off Wood River 25-27, 25-18, 15-10. Once-beaten Bonneville of Idaho Falls nipped the upset-minded Wolverines 25-22, 25-20. The Hailey girls also handled Rigby 25-22, 25-14.

Idaho Falls was last year’s State 5A runner-up and Rigby placed third in the 2002 State 4A tournament.

Saturday, Wood River nearly took reigning State 4A champion Sandpoint to a third game before falling 25-23, 25-20. Then the Wolverines pulled off their biggest win—a 17-25, 25-20, 16-14 conquest of State 4A runner-up and recent Wood River Invitational tournament winner Hillcrest.

Wood River went home with another close loss, as Skyline shaded the Hailey girls 25-15, 23-25, 16-14.

For the weekend Jessica King had 32 kills and Charli Lindley added 30. Natalie Green made 23 blocks. In setting the ball, Rachael Richards (9 assists against Hillcrest) and Emily Smith (8 assists against Skyline) led the way, and Liz Rippon’s passing was excellent at the meet, the coach said.


Other league matches

Last Wednesday the fired-up Wolverines posted a 25-18, 25-15, 20-25, 25-12 road victory at Gooding.

Hailey was delighted to have King (18 service points) back in the lineup, having missed her leadership and hitting abilities at the Sept. 20 Wood River Invitational meet when Gooding beat Wood River 25-21, 25-21.

In contrast, Gooding was playing without one of its chief hitters, Ashly Abramowski, a junior who suffered an injury in a Powderpuff football game.

But the Senators couldn’t stop one of their former players, Wood River senior Nikki Calzacorta (16 service points with 5 aces, 3 blocks). Emily Smith (13 assists) and Liz Rippon (6 kills) also played major roles.

Unfortunately Wood River lost Syringa Stark (ankle injury) for 10 days during the Gooding match.

Wood River had an easier time pinning the second SCIC loss of the season on the Buhl Tribe Sept. 23 in Hailey. The Wolverines prevailed 25-18, 25-23, 25-15 with an all-around team effort on their home court.

King and Natalie Green had 7 kills apiece, Charli Lindley 4 and Emily Smith 4. Rachael Richards (10 assists) and Smith (9 assists) led the passers. Top Wolverines at the service line were Smith (18 with 3 aces), Green (17), Richards (12) and Lindley (11).

It was a great serving night for Wood River (70 successful serves with only 5 errors). Leading Hailey blockers were Syringa Stark (4) and Green (3).

Completing a satisfying string of three league wins in three nights, the Wolverines breezed to a 25-19, 25-4, 25-15 win at Kimberly (2-8, 0-6 SCIC) Thursday. King had 21 service points, Green 7 kills and Jamie Stone 3 kills.

Wood River goes to Filer (5-16, 1-4 league) tonight, Wednesday for another SCIC clash, then takes off for Boise and the 16-team Borah tournament Friday and Saturday, Oct. 3-4. Matches start Friday at 5 p.m.



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