State champion Skyhawks pace all-Metro volleyball teams
For what felt like an eternity, if you ask the rest of the Metro League volleyball teams, Jesuit was just on a different plane.
The Crusaders were taller, more athletic, more dexterous than the rest of Metro, sometimes by a mile, over the past decade or so. Any team that fields six starting high-major Division One players like the 2015 team did should be better than the field, of course.
But then Sunset opened the door last season by beating Jesuit in the '16 Class 6A state tournament, proving the omnipotent Crusaders were feasibly fallible. And Southridge took it a step further this season, not only beating Jesuit twice in the regular season to take Metro for the first time in school history, but winning a state championship.
They earned the chip just as Jesuit's past juggernauts once did, sweeping all three state tournament opponents with a surefire offense and crowding defense.
Southridge and Sunset have proven parity can actually exist in Metro moving forward.
The league-winning Skyhawks placed five of their six starters on the all-Metro list including Metro Player of the Year Chloe Brown.
Head coach Carol Lambert was named Metro Coach of the Year. Brown was named first-team all-Metro along with junior setter Lindsey Lambert. Brown also was first-team all-state tournament while Lambert was second.
The duo combined for a heap of highlight-reel-worthy connections at the net all season-long. Lambert habitually fed all of Southridge's athletic hitters for kills and found an instant chemistry with Brown, the Westside Christian transfer. Brown never came off the floor, not only using her hops to put away spikes, but also providing sound defense and leadership to a Skyhawk squad that was ready to pop into a state title contender even before she arrived over the summer.
The pair of Skyhawks were joined on the Metro first-team by six Beaverton-area juniors, all of whom should be significant factors in the championship chase next fall.
Jesuit all-around Rose Booth, middle blocker Alyssa Hughes, freshman setter Peyton Griffin and junior defensive specialist Erin Foley were all first-team picks and will make up a strong returning nucleus at the Knight Center next year. Sunset junior middle blocker Sophie Summers and junior hitter/blocker Aria DeLaRosa took on more responsibility as team captains while elevating their own respective games in helping the Apollos make the second round of the playoffs.
Summers, DeLaRosa and junior setter Paige Monaghan are slated to return to Sunset in '18 with a team that was young this year, but gained more than 25 matches of experience and should compete for the Metro crown.
Monaghan made the all-Metro second team, as did Southridge sophomore middle blocker Cameron Brink and senior defensive specialist Julia Basauri.
Aloha all-around sophomore Izzy Szulczewski and Westview senior all-around Taylor Overn rounded out the all-Metro second team. Szulczewski and fellow Aloha sophomore Sara Vanaken will be back together as all-league all-around players next season.
Vanaken was named third-team all-Metro. Southridge senior hitter/blocker Danielle Christensen and Westview senior defensive specialist Ireland Resnick were also third-team all-Metro picks.
Next season should be very interesting with Southridge, Jesuit and Sunset all slated to return a number of all-league stars to their lineups.