Last season, the Adna volleyball team was one of the unfortunate few to draw an 8 a.m. opener at the 2B State volleyball tournament. This time around, the Pirates get to wait an extra hour and a half before hitting the court Thursday, but Wendie Dotson had her team prepared for the worst with a 6 a.m. practice Wednesday.
“You’ve got to get a practice in before you leave,” she said. “And you’ve got to practice early so you’re used to it in case you draw an 8 a.m. game. We didn’t draw an 8 a.m. game, but you never know.”
That might well be the theme for this Adna squad, which earned the No. 5 seed and will open play in Yakima at 9:45 a.m. Thursday against No. 12 Tri-Cities Prep: Different circumstances, but more prepared.
Last season’s team came in heavy on freshmen, a group that’s a year older and wiser, and bolstered by more upperclassmen than the Pirates had last fall.
That more experienced core helped the Pirates to a 17-4 record, with all four of those losses coming to State-bound opponents. Now that the final stretch is here, Dotson is hoping that last year’s time at the Yakima SunDome’s chaotic setup will prepare the Pirates for this year’s.
“I think that’s huge,” she said. “It’s very overwhelming if they haven’t experienced being on that court. Just the noise level and all the stuff that’s going on around you, you have balls flying in the court, it’s a little intimidating for people that haven’t ever been there and are expected to go out and perform at a top level. That can be intimidating for freshmen that are young, or anybody that doesn’t have that experience.”
The Pirates are coming off a third-place finish at the District 4 tournament, after rolling through two sweeps of Pacific 2B League teams and nearly taking a set from No. 1 Kalama before ultimately running out of gas in the semifinals.
Two days’ rest set Adna up a bit better and allowed a few players to get a bit healthier, before the Pirates swept Raymond and beat Toutle Lake in four sets for third.
The No. 5 seed sets the Pirates at least a bit away from the District 4-jammed quadrant of the bracket; they know that they won’t see a local foe until Friday. After facing Tri-Cities Prep, they’ll match up against either No. 4 Colfax or No. 13 Granger, with Central 2B teams waiting in the third round of play for them.
“At this point, you’re going over there, and everybody’s on an even scale,” Dotson said. “You just have to make the least amount of mistakes, and keep your composure. We’ve beaten teams in league, but you can go over there and it can be a whole new ballgame. Somebody’s just hungrier. So we’re not going to overlook anybody that’s going, for sure.”