Kennewick outside hitter Breanna Shaffer was named Player of the Year, and Lions coach Brandy Sonderland earned the top coaching honor for the Mid-Columbia Conference when the all-league team was announced last week.
“It’s fortunate to have a player like Bre on your team,” Sonderland said. “Being a new coach, she bought into what I was doing from Day 1. It’s nice to have one of your team leaders buying into your vision. Everyone else follows. I will miss her.”
Sonderland took over a Kennewick program that was winless in 2016. This fall, the Lions finished 9-5 in league play and earned the top 3A seed to the District 8 playoffs. They finished one match out of the state tournament.
“It was kind of heartbreaking,” said Sonderland, whose team lost the state play-in game to rival Southridge. “It’s an honor to be recognized by your peers, and good peers — people who have been around since I was in high school. It was good to hear their support throughout the year.”
Shaffer, a 5-foot-10 senior, finished the regular season with 244 kills (4.8 kills per set), 194 digs (3.88 per set) and served at 96 percent with 18 aces.
Shaffer was joined on the first team by teammate Monica Kaylor, Walla Walla’s Hannah Hair and Noelani Helm, Hanford’s Caylee Shelton, and the Richland trio of Lindsay Rosenthal, Jordanne Bauder and Alaina Lacey, who helped the Bombers to a 14-0 league record and their third consecutive MCC title.
MID-COLUMBIA CONFERENCE VOLLEYBALL TEAM
Player of the Year: Breanna Shaffer, sr., Kennewick. Coach of the Year: Brandy Sonderland, Kennewick.
First team — MH: Hannah Hair, so., Walla Walla, Monica Kaylor, sr., Kennewick. OH: Breanna Shaffer, sr., Kennewick, Lindsay Rosenthal, jr., Richland, Caylee Shelton, sr., Hanford. Setter: Noelani Helm, jr., Walla Walla, Jordanne Bauder, jr. Richland. Libero: Alaina Lacey, jr., Richland.
Second team — MH: Yaneli Garcia, jr., Chiawana, Madelaine Haynie, sr., Richland. OH: Sophia Sumner, jr., Southridge, Sage Brustad, so., Richland, Mareesa Hill, jr., Chiawana. Setter: McKenna Kaelber, jr., Chiawana, Maddy Eerkes, sr., Kamiakin. Libero: Marissa Logozzo, jr., Chiawana.
Honorable mention — MH: Emma Wenzel sr., Walla Walla, Bobbi Newton, jr., Southridge. OH: Delaney Frame, so., Kamiakin, Kylie Thorne, so., Chiawana. Setter: Jordan Wicklund, sr., Walla Walla, Kaitlyn Thompson, jr., Hanford. Libero: Emily Dimino, sr., Walla Walla.
Prosser took three of eight places on the first team, with middle hitters Ashley Ripplinger and Leah Blakney taking two spots and setter Kayla Lind taking the other.
The Mustangs, who lost their winner-to-state match Saturday to East Valley (Spokane) in four sets, also saw ninth-year coach Wendy Meirndorf named CWAC Coach of the Year.
The Mustangs finished 8-1 in CWAC play, tying for the league title with Selah and Ellensburg. It was the first share of a league title for Prosser since 1988.
“I’m super proud of them,” Meirndorf said of her team. “It’s really run to finally reap the benefits of all the hard work we have put in the past few years.”
CWAC VOLLEYBALL TEAM
Player of the Year: Tia Andaya, jr., Ellensburg. Coach of the Year: Wendy Meirndorf, Prosser.
First team — MH: Ashley Ripplinger, jr., Prosser, Leah Blakney, sr., Prosser. OH: Maddie Quigley, sr., Selah, Tia Andaya, jr., Ellensburg. M: Madison Martin, sr., Ephrata. Setter: Kayla Lind, jr., Prosser. Libero: Taylor Beksinski, sr., Selah, Kiana Miller, sr., Ephrata.
Second team — OH: Payton Lyyski, so., Ellensburg, Grace Oldham, so., Ellensburg, Corina Garza, sr., East Valley. M: Bailey Duis, so., Grandview, Hannah Goodspeed, sr., Ephrata. Setter: Samantha Dexter. RS: Monetia Garza, sr., East Valley. Libero: Leah Stueckle, so., Ellensburg.
Honorable mention — OH: Shauny Fisk, so., Ellensburg, Kylie Colson, sr., Prosser, Cassidy Eucker, jr., Grandview, Mykiah Hollenbeck, sr., Othello, Morgan Kleyn, jr., Quincy. MB: Catherine Bechard, jr., Selah, Corrine Pettyjohn, sr., Selah. RS: Cheyenne Rath, jr., Selah. Setter: Maia Valencia, so., Ellensburg. Libero: Brandi Groeneveld, sr., Prosser.
Kiona-Benton placed four players on the first team — including Player of the Year Mihaela Edwards — and Jolene Calzadillas was named Coach of the Year by her peers.
The Bears, who shared the league title with Connell at 13-1, had Edwards named as a middle hitter, while outside hitters Marloree Calzadillas and Gabby Edwards, and setter Nya Calzadillas also were named to the first team.
Connell had middle hitters Heather Hawkins and Halli Whitby named to the first team.
Ki-Be is headed to the 1A state tournament in Yakima on Friday, where it will play Overlake at 5:15 p.m. in the first round.
SCAC EAST VOLLEYBALL TEAM
Player of the Year: Mihaela Edwards, sr., Kiona-Benton. Coach of the Year: Jolene Calzadillas, Kiona-Benton.
First team — OH: Maloree Calzadillas, jr., Kiona-Benton, Gabby Edwards, sr., Kiona-Benton. MH: Mihaela Edwards, sr., Kiona-Benton, Heather Hawkins, sr., Connell, Halli Whitby, sr., Connell, Jordan O’Conner, sr., Columbia-Burbank, Dempsi Talkington, sr., River View. Setter: Nya Calzadillas, fr., Kiona-Benton.
Second team — OH: Monica Canales, sr., Warden, Kaylee Janett, jr., Royal, Aaliyah Anderson, sr., River View. RS: Dakota Egbert, sr., Connell. MH: Ashley Jenne, jr., Wahluke, Ryah Small, so., Columbia-Burbank. Setter: Makenna Price, sr., Connell, Morgan Munson, sr., River View.
Honorable mention — OH: Gracie Smith, jr., Royal, Teisha Payne, sr., College Place, Ellie Benson, jr., Connell. MH: Elzzy Gonzales, so., Kiona-Benton. Setter: Ali Martineau, sr., Columbia-Burbank, Reyna Valdez, so., Wahluke. Libero: Teresa Rojas, sr., River View, Andrea Hernandez, sr., Warden.
Tri-Cities Prep sophomore Emily Dickson was named to the first team, while teammate freshman Talia von Oelhoffen was named to the second team, along with Liberty Christian senior Makenzy Dysland.
The Jaguars will open state play at 1:30 p.m. Thursday against Northwest Christian at the SunDome in Yakima.
Isabel Robertson of Kittitas was named Player of the Year, while Coach of the Year was Daniel Robertson, also of Kittitas.
EWAC VOLLEYBALL TEAM
First team — Isabel Robertson, sr., Kittitas, Gabrielle Browning, jr., WWVA, Taylor DeKoning, so., Kittitas, Emily Dickson, so., Tri-Cities Prep, Hanna Becker, sr., Dayton, Gabby Sanchez, jr., White Swan, Natasha Vincett, sr., Kittitas.
Second team — Willa King, sr., WWVA, Brita Stermetz, sr., Kittitas, Kaleigh White, jr., Dayton, Talia von Oelhoffen, fr., Tri-Cities Prep, Makenzy Dysland, sr., Liberty Christian, Tanika Taylor, sr., White Swan, Scully Castorena, jr., Dayton.
Honorable mention — Elsie Dilly, sr., Tri-Cities Prep, Grace Kruschke, sr., Tri-Cities Prep, Alejandra Espinoza, sr., Kittitas, Jessica Mitchell, fr., WWVA, Anja Cole, jr., WWVA, Tatumn Laughery, jr., Dayton, Natalie Barber, sr., Liberty Christian, Noemi Galarza, sr., Mabton, Kassandra Hernandez, so., Mabton.