COOS BAY — Playing host to the 11th Marshfield Invitational Volleyball Tournament, it’s ultimately a two-for-one for the Pirates.
“We get to combine a lot of competition at the end of the season and we don’t have to add travel on top of it,” said Marshfield head coach Tammie Montiel. The-late season tournament that takes place on Saturday brings 15 schools — it was 16 schools before Cottage Grove dropped out on Tuesday — together from across the state in addition to California’s Del Norte.
This year’s tournament includes South Medford and Grants Pass from Class 6A, North Bend from 5A, Brookings-Harbor in 3A and Coquille and Reedsport in 2A. The rest of the field is made up of 4A teams: Marshfield, Siuslaw, North Valley, Hidden Valley, Phoenix, Mazama, Junction City and Astoria.
“It’s one of the better tournaments that’s toward the end of the season so you can kind of see where you’re at,” said Montiel. “You can, most times, improve your ranking a little. Simply by getting more games against good competition whether you hopefully win but even if you lose sometimes against a higher seed sometimes you still move up a little bit.”
Four teams are ranked in the top-10 in their classifications: No. 3 Hidden Valley, No. 5 Junction City and No. 7 Astoria in Class 4A and No. 8 Coquille in 2A.
“With Grants Pass (and) South Medford, they’re not top 6A schools, but they’re still competing day in and day out against 6A schools and they bring a different speed and tempo to things that we don’t necessarily always see. That’s nice,” said Montiel.
Teams are divided into four groups for pool play, where teams will play two games to 25 against each of the other teams in a round-robin format. After pool play, the two top teams out of each pool are put in the championship bracket, while the other two go into a consolation bracket. Bracket play will be best two-out-of-three. Pool play will begin at 8 a.m. and the championship game is set for 5 p.m.
The varsity matches will take place in all three gyms at Marshfield High School while the JV and freshman teams from each school will be playing at the Southwestern Oregon Community College Rec Center.
With 15 teams in the mix, instead of the traditional 16, Montiel is preparing for what that will look like.
“That throws a little wrinkle into things. We’ve tried to find another team to fill their spot but at this point that’s tough to do,” said Montiel. If no replacement can be found, she intends to play on as normal with a couple teams receiving some byes.