MATT SCHUBERT’S PREP NOTES: Fall teams vying for playoff spots

CHAD OCHOCINCO HAS nothing on high school volleyball players.

When it comes to the volley, set and spike set, celebrations are an art form.

We’re not talking about a simple team huddle with some hand slaps and hugs.

No, these are full scale productions, complete with choreographed dances and chants.

Whether it’s an ace, kill, block or simple side out, teams have a rehearsed routine for just about anything that can happen on a volleyball court.

Whenever a Port Angeles Roughrider comes up with a block, for example, the team huddles together and screams, “Access denied” while waving their hands in the air.

And that’s by no means the most elaborate or over the top.

Normally, I tend to fall into the crotchety old man school of “let your play speak for itself” when it comes to such antics (e.g. the unsavory side shows that accompany any Ochocinco touchdown for the Cincinnati Bengals).

Yet I can’t seem to channel my inner gruff when it comes to volleyball. It just looks so . . . fun.

A dramatic spike bouncing violently off the hardwood is great.

When it’s immediately followed by a raucous team-wide routine?

Well, that’s like adding a couple slices of bacon to (insert food item here). Always an improvement.

Quite a few North Olympic Peninsula teams have been getting their celebratory routines this fall.

As we hit the homestretch of the fall prep sports season, it’s looking like several will get in some additional performances in the postseason.

Here’s a quick rundown of each team sport:

Volleyball

• Top of the heap: Port Angeles, Sequim, Neah Bay and Crescent.

Sequim and Port Angeles were both undefeated in league going into Tuesday night but still have difficult matches ahead.

The Port Angeles-Sequim match Tuesday — a rematch of last month’s five-game classic — could decide who gets a better seed in the Class 2A sub-district tournament.

With the Olympic’s top three 2A teams getting an automatic district berth, that could loom large.

Crescent and Neah Bay find themselves in a familiar position after Tuesday night’s Red Devil win: grappling with each other for an NOL volleyball crown.

That probably won’t be settled until the two teams meet again Oct. 21 in Joyce; the same gym where the 1B Tri-Districts will be played in November.

• In the middle: Forks.

The Spartans are currently fifth out of eight teams in the SWL Evergreen Division standings.

That will likely be enough to move on to 1A districts (I say “likely” only because district allocations are not finalized yet). But moving up a few spots sure wouldn’t hurt.

• Lots of work to do: Clallam Bay, Chimacum, Port Townsend and Quilcene.

Each team is at the bottom or near the bottom of its league and will need a big turnaround to get into the playoff picture.

Girls soccer

• Top of the heap: Port Townsend.

The Redskins could play their way into a decent seed in the 1A Tri-District if they can start stringing wins together in the Olympic League.

All Port Townsend needs to do is finish ahead of two 2A teams to reach the postseason.

As jumbled as the league is at the top, however, Port Townsend could finish first or second if Irina Lyons (10 goals and three assists) and company get hot down the stretch.

• In the middle — Port Angeles.

The Riders officially have just one league win, but they did beat three of the teams ahead of them in the league standings in nonleague affairs earlier this fall.

The top five 2As in the Olympic all move on to sub-districts. So Port Angeles must leapfrog just two others in the standings.

(Side note: The Olympic League didn’t start counting “league” games in volleyball and soccer until late September.)

• Lots of work to do: Chimacum, Sequim and Forks.

All three teams were all either in last place or tied for last in its league standings heading into Tuesday night’s matches.

Football

• Top of the heap: Port Angeles, Sequim, Neah Bay and Quilcene.

I don’t think I need to get too in depth about Sequim or Port Angeles given the amount of PDN ink given to those top two Olympic League teams already.

In short, stay tuned for their Oct. 29 matchup at Civic Field. It’s going to be a big one.

Neah Bay and Quilcene are right in the middle of what might be a three-team race for the first-ever 1B Northwest Football League title.

Yes, Neah Bay has already lost a nonleague tilt against the other third of that triumvirate (Lummi). And, yes, Quilcene fell in a nonleaguer to Neah Bay as well.

But as last year’s 1B semifinal proved — the Red Devils lost to the Lummi Blackhawks after beating them twice earlier in the year — anything can happen once the whistle blows.

• In the middle: Crescent and Chimacum.

The Loggers have made due with a thin roster and are now in the thick of the Northwest Football League race with their Tuesday game against Lummi looming.

The Cowboys saved their season with a come-from-behind win over Vashon Island last week.

A win Friday at Charles Wright would put the Cowboys right back in the thick of the Nisqually League’s four-spot playoff race (especially if Vashon knocks off Life Christian as well).

• Lots of work — Clallam Bay, Forks and Port Townsend.

The Redskins’ and Spartans’ playoff hopes are all but done, with each team still winless heading into the final half of its league schedule.

Clallam Bay, which ended an 18-game losing streak last week, needs to win out and get some serious help.

________

Matt Schubert is the outdoors and sports columnist for the Peninsula Daily News. His column regularly appears on Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at matt.schubert@peninsuladailynews.com.

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