The Sunnyside Grizzly volleyball team has never been to the state tournament, but that could change this season despite losing Big 9 player of the year Kaycee Hazzard.

Coach Erin Koerner is returning eight varsity players from last season, and says, “We have a good feeling about every one of these girls. The knowledge they have of the game and the cohesiveness of all of them is phenomenal.”

Back for the 2021 season is First-Team All-League Outside Hitter Alyna Ramirez, Right-Side Hitter Jansyn Carrizales and Defensive Specialist Mackenzie Chambers Jr.

Koerner acknowledged the behemoth they face each year with West Valley a perennial state title contender, but noted that they took a set off the Rams this past spring and they are building to bigger.

Practices are structured around competition with the mantra for the team all about that fire and belief.

Koerner says this has been a slow process in building a great program, but they no longer go into gyms fearing losing, “That’s gone. That’s old news. I think that our short little season (in the spring) prepared us for how to win.”

Koerner is also looking at building the program beyond the high school to the younger kids that might want to play volleyball as they grow up.

The season kicked off Tuesday night against Prosser.

If you want to look ahead, the 4A State Tournament takes place November 19 and 20 at St. Martin’s University in Lacey.

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