If Wednesday’s match in Hailey is any measuring stick, you might watch out for a very young and talented Canyon Ridge Riverhawks team in the 2013 Great Basin Conference high school volleyball race.
Canyon Ridge (2-3, 1-0 league) used its double-barrel hitting attack to wear down a determined Wood River Wolverine squad (0-1, 0-1) and lock up a 25-21, 28-30, 25-19, 25-17 GBC league triumph in Hailey.
The score might have been closer, but Wood River’s top hitter during the first two games—junior Haley Cutler—went down with a left ankle injury toward the end of the second game and did not return.
Sophomore Alison Gates along with sophomore sisters Madison Bell and Emily Bell led the Riverhawks, who had already played and been beaten by State 4A champion Century of Pocatello and State 5A runner-up Madison of Rexburg.
Coach Tim Richards’ Wolverines were playing their first match and showed fight throughout. They didn’t have enough answers for the Riverhawks hitting led by smackdown center Gates, junior hitter Madison Tripp, freshman Haley McKee and senior middle blocker Fahira Kremic.
In its fifth year of competition, Canyon Ridge’s volleyball program has never qualified for state competition—finishing third in the league in 2011, fourth last year, fifth in 2010 and sixth in 2009. But coach Stacy Boer’s 2013 squad shows nothing but exciting promise.
Highlight of the match for Wood River was the second-game victory, achieved after Cutler (4 kills in the game) left the game with her team ahead 22-21. Canyon Ridge rallied for match-points at 25-24 and 27-26 and appeared likely to prevail.
That’s when Hailey junior setter Brittney Bradley drilled her third kill extending the match. At 28-28, senior Mary Petzke took a Ciceley Peavey pass and nailed a winner, then promising freshman Blair Radford finished the match with her second kill to end it 30-28.
Radford (5 winning serves) and Peavey (6 winning serves, 2 kills) led Wood River to the dramatic second-game win. But it was all Canyon Ridge in the final two games, as only senior Sadie Dawson and Petzke could do much damage at the net.
The Hailey varsity opens its tournament season Friday and Saturday, Sept. 6-7 at the 28-school Peg Peterson Invitational at Pocatello’s Highland High and Pocatello High schools. In Wood River’s pool are Hillcrest of Idaho Falls, Box Elder and Bear Lake of Montpelier. Pool play starts at 3 p.m.