Two of southern Idaho’s best prep volleyball programs, the 3A Buhl Tribe and Filer Wildcats, are coming to Hailey’s Wood River High School gym on Tuesday, Aug. 28, to help the host 4A Wolverines debut their home volleyball campaign.
Coach Tim Richards’ Wolverines entertain Filer and Buhl, in back-to-back non-league matches, starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The preliminary match of the triangular meet pits Buhl against Filer at 5 p.m. Freshmen and junior varsity teams will also be in action.
Eleventh-year Wolverine coach Richards (207-159) has welcomed a group of eager learners to early-season practices. “Every girl, up and down the row, has a great attitude. It’s one of the best starts we’ve had as far as training and commitment of the girls.”
Richards’ varsity assistants are former JV head coach Anna Edwards and his daughter Hannah Richards, a 2006 Wood River graduate and volleyball star who played three years of college volleyball at Principia College in Illinois before graduating from there in 2010.
With three seniors, three juniors and five promising sophomores, Wood River will be challenged to return to the State 4A tourney for the first time since 2008—especially with Twin Falls and Jerome sitting atop the GBC pack and staring down, dominantly.
Twin Falls, since entering the GBC in 2009, has won three consecutive conference titles for coach B.J. Price, the former Wood River boys’ basketball star. The Bruins have beaten Jerome for the league title the last two years, and have won two straight State 4A tournament consolation titles.
Jerome, which missed a trip to the state tournament with a play-in loss to Emmett last October, returns 11 seniors and has a good shot to earn one of two automatic Great Basin berths to the 2012 State 4A tourney Oct. 26 in Idaho Falls.
“Their skill development is a little ahead of us,” said Richards about Twin and Jerome.
Yet Wood River, conference king from 2006-08, has its own strengths, and serving is among them. “All the girls have good accuracy,” said Richards. Plus, the return of last year’s co-captains Paradis and Lily Richards is a major asset.
Leading the Wolverines in winners (kills) last season, second-team All-Conference selection Lily Richards and All-GBC honorable mention Paradis are constant threats at the net. Richards was last year’s team Most Inspirational player.
Wood River (14-21 last season) placed fourth in last year’s GBC tournament. Most of the starters are back, including two talented and athletic sophomores, Haley Cutler (last fall’s team Most Improved recipient) and Brittney Bradley.
Cutler, Bradley and Ciceley Peavey, another sophomore, are likely to share the setting duties in coach Richards’ 6-2 offense. Penciled in as the new libero, replacing second-team All-GBC Mercedez Powell, is sophomore Megan Lube.
Bringing tons of coaching experience to the younger group is the junior varsity coach Reamy Goodwin. He coached the Wood River varsity for 12 seasons from 1990-2001 and won seven district titles, then guided the Community School volleyball team for eight years from 2002-09.
Here is this year’s roster:
Head coach—Tim Richards (11th year, 1207-159). Assistant coaches—Anna Edwards and Hannah Richards.
Seniors (3)—Madi Hendrix (5-10 middle), Lily Richards (5-10 outside hitter) and Kori Paradis (6-0 middle).
Juniors (3)—Mary Petzke (5-11 middle blocker/right side), Sadie Dawson (5-11 middle) and Sydney Thomsen (5-8 outside hitter).
Sophomores (5)—Haley Cutler (5-7 outside hitter/setter), Brittney Bradley (5-6 setter), Ciceley Peavey (5-6 setter), Ashley Hicks (5-5) and Megan Lube (4-11 libero).
Head coach—Reamy Goodwin.
Juniors (3)—Angelica Winningham, GG Gibson and Kyoko Masuda (foreign exchange from Japan).
Sophomores (11)—Tayler Bosch, Sami Goitiandia, Lacey Harrington, Valeria Morse, Haylee Pettit, Emma Poe, Raylin Lyons, Rachael Malone, Kathleen Reyes, Sami Rodriguez and Marbella Barrymore.
Head coach—Sarah Allen.
Players (12)—Kelsea Beck, Yolanda DeLeon, Chloe Evans, Ronaele Garza, Sochie Goitiandia, Janelle Meyers, Samantha Taylor, Megan Young, Arya Gibson, Zoe Gibson, Delaney Brassil and Mia Uhrig.