There’s no denying that Weston-McEwen has put a quality volleyball team on the court every season for the past 14 years.
They have a collection of state trophies, several players who have gone on to play at the college level, and the TigerScots don’t look to stop their ride anytime soon.
For the fourth time since 2010, the East Oregonian has chosen a W-M athlete as the All-Area Volleyball Player of the year. This season, it’s senior Bryce Thul.
“She filled up the stat line very well for us every match,” TigerScots coach Shawn White said. “She was a huge part of what we did this year (sixth at the 2A state tournament).”
Thul, a 5-foot-6 setter and right-side hitter, finished the season with 211 kills, 45 blocks, 490 assists and 202 digs. She also had 102 service aces.
“My goal was to get 500 assists,” Thul said. “I have been a setter since third grade. My dad (Greg) played beach volleyball and he worked with me. That has kind of been our thing.”
White started Thul as setter when she was a sophomore. Her hitting has come along since then.
“Last year she hit more, and this year she did a little bit of everything,” White said. “She has outstanding ball control as a hitter, and she had a ton of confidence. She excelled at everything, and added leadership on the court.”
The 102 aces also were impressive.
“We had a very tough serving team,” Thul said. “That helped us out in a lot of tough situations this year.”
A first-team Blue Mountain Conference selection, Thul helped the TigerScots to second place at the district tournament, falling to Grant Union in the tittle match.
W-M went on to place sixth at the 2A state tournament. The TigerScots lost their opening match to eventual champion Portland Christian. They finished the season 25-8, and
Thul also was named to the all-state second team, while teammate Emma Olson and Heppner’s Sydney Wilson were selected to the honorable mention team.
“The experience is just incredible,” Thul said of playing at state. “We won state my sophomore year, but we didn’t make it last year. It was the first time in 13 years we didn’t go. That wasn’t going to happen again.”
Thul also follows in the footsteps of several All-Area Players of the Year from Weston-McEwen.
In 2004, the entire team earned the honor. Renee Bauman won in 2010, Molly Von Borstel in 2013, and Ali Schroeder in 2015.
“It has been so much fun,” Thul said. “Coach White is awesome. No matter what happens, he never yells, there is no negative feedback. I don’t know what will happen the day he steps down.”
Though she has all the tools to take her game to the next level, Thul has decided against playing college volleyball. She has plans to attend the University of Wyoming, where she will major in criminal justice, with future plans of law school.
“School is stressful enough,” she said. “I’ll probably play intramurals.”
Player of the Year: Bryce Thul, sr., Weston-McEwen
First team: Bryce Thul, sr., Weston-McEwen; Sophia Streeter, sr., Hermiston; Ireland McDonough, sr., Hermiston; Hailey Weaver, sr., Weston-McEwen; Sydney Wilson, so., Heppner; McKenna Collins, so., Irrigon; Kirah McGlothan, sr., Pendleton.
Second team: Elisabeth House, sr., Pendleton; Jesse Manning, so., Weston-McEwen; Emma Olson, jr., Weston-McEwen; Jacee Currin, sr., Heppner; Haley White, jr., Irrigon; Kendall Dowdy, so., Hermiston; Halee Stubbs, jr., Hermiston.