There are many reasons why Napavine senior Haily Murray has found success on the volleyball court, though one of the biggest takes place above it. Not only is Murray, at 6 feet all, often one of the tallest girls on the court, she also can usually jump higher than anyone, as well. The outside and middle hitter used eye-popping hops and a powerful spike to hammer down a county-leading 169 kills for the Tigers this season, averaging 13 a match.
“She’s got an amazing vertical and long reach,” Napavine coach Monica Dailey said. “She’s a smart player and demands a lot of herself.”
Murray, a two-year captain and a first-team all-league selection last year, was successful in every aspect of the game this past season, She was 111-for-128 serving, at an 86.7% clip, and burned 33 aces. She added 203 service-receive digs (15.6 per match), had 92 defensive digs (7.1 per match) and 26 block kills (two per match).
“She works hard at her craft and wants to be good at what she does,” Dailey said. “She’s played for several other coaches during club season and is quick to jump in and teach techniques she’s learned.”
Senior Vannie Fagerness was a Swiss army knife for the Tigers this season as libero. She dug 245 service-receive hits (18.8 per match), tallied 185 defensive digs (14 per match) and was impeccable at the service line, going 168-for-180, at a 93.3% clip, with 42 aces.
A two-year starter and two-year captain for Napavine, Fagerness proved herself to be a hard-working leader for a Tigers team that advanced to the district semifinals.
“She wants to get a hand on every ball,” Dailey said. “She’s smart, she’s quick and she watches the tendencies of other players and teams we’re going against. I could really use her anywhere. She’s one of the reasons we were so successful, and why Haily was so successful.”
The Tigers (9-2) went on a regular-season run to remember, reeling off a nine-game win streak and capturing the 2A Evergreen Conference title outright for the first time in recent memory. The Tigers were powered by sophomore setter Madison Stoeckler, a first-team all-2A EvCo selection who racked up a county-leading 327 assists (29.7 per game, 8.2 per set). She was nearly flawless at the service line, going 142-152 at 93% and averaged 13.5 defensive digs per game with a .312% hitting efficiency.
“Her court awareness and how she communicated with her hitters makes her so effective,” Centralia coach Marti Smith said. “She excels in every skill of the game. Her composure and confidence sets the tone for the rest of the team.”
Teammate Jadyn Hawley, a junior outside hitter and defensive specialist, was a second-team all-league pick. She served 141-151, also at a blazing 93%, averaged seven kills per game and collected 246 defensive digs (22.3 per game).
“She’s an absolute competitor,” Smith said. “Jadyn leaves everything out on the floor. Offensively, she’s so consistent and, defensively, she reads the ball extremely well.”
The Bearcats’ regular season results didn’t go how they planned. But W.F. West turned it on when it mattered after taking two losses to 2A EvCo champ and rival Centralia, beating the Tigers in the second round of the district tournament.
The two biggest catalysts for the Bearcats this season were senior libero Alisha Anderson, who led the team with 156 defensive digs, and sophomore setter Savannah Hawkins, who broke a school single-set record with 12 aces and dished out 80 assists.
“Both of them are extremely talented athletes,” W.F West coach Emily Mora said. “They have worked hard to hone in their talents and it paid off in a major way for us this season. Alisha only had one gear, and it was full effort. She gave every single touch on the ball her full energy.
“Savannah is a big student of the game. She did a phenomenal job leading the offense and seeing where she needed to put the ball to give our team the best scoring position.”
The Pirates finished fourth in the 2B Central Conference, took the No. 4 seed into districts and advanced to the district quarterfinal round. Junior Madison Fay was the team leader, registering 76 kills, 142 digs and served 84% with 35 aces.
“Madison is eager to learn and improve her skills,” Adna coach Wendie Dotson said. “She has worked very hard in the offseason to become a better all-around player. She is a good leader and leads by example. I look forward to seeing what she can accomplish next season.”
Just about everyone knew Mossyrock would run things this season after dropping down from Class 2B to 1B — and they did. The Vikings took just one loss, to 2B District IV runner-up Toutle Lake, finished 15-1 overall and captured the 1B District IV championship.
Senior outside hitter Morgan Houghtelling was the county’s top server, connecting on 279-of-296 at a 94% rate. She added 222 assists, 55 kills, 53 aces, 82 digs and had a season-high of 43 assists in one game.
Sophomore outside hitter Payton Torrey was also trouble for opposing teams, serving 140-153 at a 92% clip, with 69 kills, 15 blocks, 21 aces and 109 digs.
The Cardinals were the story of the district tournament this year. The Cards snapped a five-game losing streak mid-season to reel off three-consecutive wins and qualify for the district tournament for the first time in 16 years.
As the No. 8 seed, Winlock knocked off the Pacific League’s No. 1 seed, South Bend, in the opening round, then upset C2BL’s No. 4 seed, Adna, in the district quarterfinals. Their Cinderella run finally came to an end against powerhouse Toutle Lake in the semifinals.
Winlock was led by junior outside hitter Addison Hall, who struck down 112 kills and scored 87 points off serves with 25 aces.
“Addison Hall is a truly-skilled athlete, no matter where you put her on the court,” Winlock coach Chastity Pennington said. “Even more valuable is Addison’s dedication to training and preparing herself mentally as an athlete. She has an incredibly-high level of athletic intelligence and maturity.”