Here is a look around the 2011 Mid-Columbia girls high school volleyball season. Standings are through Wednesday, Sept. 21:
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Walla Walla 1-2
Moses Lake 1-3
2010 regular-season champions: Richland
2010 district tournament champions: Richland
2010 regional tournament champions: Mead
2010 state tournament: Richland and Wenatchee both qualified and went 0-2
First team: Kirsten Clemans, sr., Wenatchee, setter; Lauren Joseph, sr., Richland, setter; Audrey Ketcham, sr., Wenatchee, outside hitter; Sadie Sparks, sr., Chiawana, middle blocker
Second team: Michaela George, sr., Wenatchee, middle blocker; Shanita Hill, sr., Chiawana, outside hitter; Hannah Leiber, sr., Wenatchee, outside hitter; Charlene Manning, sr., Richland, middle blocker; Jamie Steach, jr., Chiawana, setter
Honorable mention: Tianna Cummings, sr., Walla Walla, libero
Notes: The Bombers have a lot returning, but are without top hitter Chelsey Bettinson who is at Washington State. ... Chiawana has a chance to knock Richland off the top spot, as the Riverhawks have some upperclassmen this year. Led by Sparks, the Riverhawks are off to a hot start, including two tough five-set wins against Walla Walla and Wenatchee. ... The Panthers have a lot back from their first state-qualifying team and expect to contend for the title. ... Walla Walla doesn't have a lot back but has played well at times in the early going and could contend if things break right.
West Valley 5-0
2010 regular-season champions: West Valley
2010 district tournament champions: West Valley
2010 regional tournament champions: West Valley
2010 state tournament: West Valley, Kennewick both advanced to state. Kennewick lost in the consolation semifinals after winnings its first-round match. West Valley took third place.
First team: Sarah Joffs, sr., West Valley, middle blocker; Julia Nathe, jr., West Valley, setter
Second team: Morgan McDowell, sr., West Valley, outside hitter; Meghan McIntyre, sr., Kennewick, outside hitter; Isabella Midili, sr., Southridge, outside hitter
Honorable mention: Suzi Davison, sr., Hanford, setter; Nikki Eldred, jr., Hanford, middle blocker; Sierra Linke, jr., Pasco, outside hitter; Linnea Phillips, sr., West Valley, defensive specialist
Notes: It feels a bit like everyone is playing for second place, as the Rams return eight players from last season's state third-place team. ... West Valley has only dropped two sets in its first five league matches. ... Kennewick and Hanford figure to be the teams most likely to contend with the Rams, as the Lions are coming off the program's first state berth. Despite a new coach in Julie Maciboba, the Lions have been strong in the early going. ... The Falcons won a five-set thriller Tuesday against the Suns. Hanford has a new coach in McKenzie Garberg, who led Kiona-Benton to a Class 2A state title in 2002 as a player. ... Southridge should be right on the heels of Kennewick and Hanford, a year after letting a state berth slip through its fingertips. ... Kamiakin has had to reload after graduating nearly all of its top players, while Pasco has shown flashes of strong play in the early going this season.
2011: League play starts Tuesday
2010 regular-season champions: Selah
2010 district tournament champions: Selah
2010 regional tournament champions: Pullman
2010 state: Grandview and Selah advanced to state. Selah finished second, losing to Pullman in four. Grandview finished sixth, losing to Spokane West Valley in three.
First team: Payton Parrish, jr., Grandview, setter; Kendra DeHoog, sr., Ephrata, middle blocker; Tori Dexter, sr., Selah, outside hitter
Second team: Maci Beierle, soph., East Valley, setter; Kailee Wood, jr., Selah, outside hitter; Maddie Gamache, jr., East Valley, middle blocker; Kacey Hartman, sr., Selah, middle blocker.
Honorable mention: Taylor Hentges, sr., Ellensburg, outside hitter; Mikaela Espinoza, sr., Grandview, outside hitter; Madison Peterson, sr., Quincy, libero; Cheyenne Merritt, sr., Selah, setter; Anissa Godina, jr., Toppenish, outside hitter
Notes: Selah returns four all-league picks and figures to make another run at the state title. All together, the Vikings have eight players back from last season's state runner-up team. ... The Greyhounds graduated quite a bit from last season's sixth-place team, but do have Parrish and Espinoza back to anchor a young team that is expected to contend for a state berth. ... Prosser and Othello will have to learn on the fly, as neither team has much back from last season.
River View 1-2
2010 regular-season champions: Connell
2010 district tournament champions: Connell
2010 state: Connell advanced to state, falling in the consolation semifinals after winning its first-round match.
Second team: Breanne Watts, sr., Kiona-Benton, setter
Honorable mention: Paxton Carlisle, sr., Connell, RS/DS; Cheyenne Henrich, sr., Kiona-Benton, outside hitter; Maria Rangel, sr., Kiona-Benton, setter.
Notes: The Eagles lost a tremendous amount of talent from last season's state-tournament team but still figure to be the cream of the crop in league play. ... Kiona-Benton has turned some heads in the early going and Columbia-Burbank expects to compete as well.