Will West Albany win the 5A State title?
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PrepDig Oregon released a poll awhile back asking everyone to vote on their prediction for the 5A State title winner. PrepDig is doing a write up on each of the top four vote getters, plus a bonus school we think…
PrepDig Oregon released a poll awhile back asking everyone to vote on their prediction for the 5A State title winner. PrepDig is doing a write up on each of the top four vote getters, plus a bonus school we think will go far in the State tournament. Based on the results, Bend, Wilsonville, Summit, and West Albany received the highest number of votes; and, our 5A bonus school is Crescent Valley. All five programs are top-notch and will likely advance well into the State tournament. But, will one of these teams win it all? Time will tell.
Receiving the 4th most votes at 56 was West Albany High School. West Albany first won a State championship in 2012 and then again in 2013, and most recently won the championship in 2021. The Bulldogs fell to Crescent Valley in a super close 5-set quarterfinal match last fall, so they are undoubtedly looking to make it all the way through the tournament this season. Ranked as the #2 team with a 19-6 overall record going into this weekend’s matches, West Albany has an excellent shot at the championship this year.
Throughout the regular season, we were able to see this team in action and have some impressive players to highlight.
Hitting on the outside is powerhouse attacker. A senior who is currently ranked as the #1 outside hitter for the class of 2024 and who was just named 5A Mid-Willamette Conference Co-Player of the Year, Arnett has been instrumental in the Bulldogs’ success throughout this and prior seasons. Arnett is fast and physical, combining an impressive vertical with a quick, strong arm swing to put the ball away consistently. She is also a solid defensive player, making for an all-around incredible six-rotation outside hitter. Over the course of the season, Arnett has notched 332 kills on 825 attempts, with an impressive 0.264 hitting percentage. She ranks first in the 5A classification for total kills. Arnett’s also been deadly from the service line, tallying 66 aces with a 97.2 serving percentage for the season. Arnett has also racked up 7 solo blocks and 18 block assists, and on defense she has tallied 365 digs. Arnett will certainly be a key player for the Bulldogs throughout the 5A State tournament.
Playing opposite Arnett is another impressive attacker, junior, who was named to the Mid-Willamette all-league second team. Blake has a powerful and quick arm swing and an explosive approach; she is almost impossible to stop offensively. Scoring consistently for the Bulldogs, Blake also adjusts to the ball effortlessly and is formidable from anywhere along the net. She has notched an incredible 285 kills on 691 attempts, showcasing a 0.276 hitting percentage on the season. From the service line, Blake has tallied 31 aces, and on defense, she has racked up 5 solo blocks, 26 block assists, and 293 digs. Between Blake and Arnett, West Albany’s left pin will be tough to stop this weekend.
Seniors, a Mid-Willamette all-league second team recipient, and , a Mid-Willamette all-league first team recipient, have been dominating from the middle for the Bulldogs. Although she’s a bit undersized for a middle blocker, Bernt does an excellent job of reaching high on the ball to hit over the block. Exhibiting solid court vision, Bernt also places the ball into openings well to score for West Albany. Bernt has recorded 104 kills on 287 attempts for a solid 0.244 hitting percentage. She has also notched 21 aces with a 93.8 serving percentage. At the net, Bernt has tallied 7 solo blocks and 30 block assists. Playing opposite Bernt is Konzelman, a very impressive middle who can also, and sometimes does, set very well for the Bulldogs. From the middle, Konzelman is fast and physical, running quick plays effortlessly and beating opponents’ blocks to put the ball away. Over the course of the season, she has amassed 139 kills on 379 attempts with a 0.198 hitting percentage. Konzelman is also an incredible blocker and ranks first in blocks for the 5A classification, getting up high and pressing over the net effectively. She leads the Bulldogs in blocks with an amazing 15 solo blocks and 61 block assists. Konzelman is a well-rounded player, able to step in and set as needed. She has tallied 80 assists on 282 attempts. And, from the service line, Konzelman is solid, having notched 22 aces with an 89.5 serving percentage.
Running the Bulldogs’ stellar offense are sophomoresand Ashley Hemmer. Both setters are quick on their feet and manage to get their hands on most balls. They make smart setting decisions, moving their sets around to keep each of their attackers engaged. Grace and Hemmer are both key players for West Albany. Grace, who was named to the Mid-Willamette all-league first team, has racked up an incredible 475 assists on 1292 total attempts, leading the 5A classification in total assists. On defense, she has also notched 102 digs. Hemmer has tallied 208 assists on 611 attempts, and has notched 52 digs.
Finally, anchoring the Bulldogs’ back row are senior Taylor Thompson and sophomore, both of whom received Mid-Willamette all-league honorable mention accolades. Playing as a defensive specialist, Moevao has been a consistent presence, passing steadily on serve receive and putting up impressive digs on defense. Moevao has put up 199 solid passes on serve receive and has recorded 124 digs on defense. From the baseline, Moevao is tough and has tallied 30 aces with a 91.3 serving percentage. Thompson, the reigning West Albany libero, has been an imperative piece of the Bulldogs’ lineup. She is fast and dependable, never failing to make incredible plays to keep the ball alive. Thompson ranks third in the 5A classification for digs, having racked up 284 on the season. She is also an amazing serve receive passer, having passed 426 settable balls off opponents’ serves. Thompson has also notched 45 assists and 12 aces.
*The stats provided are through Oct 29, 2023.