Month: September 2012

A tough one for sure…

I love coaching because there is always a life lesson that pops up in every match. I watched my team warm-up looking more ready to play than I have ever seen them this season – I was expecting a great match from our players. Instead we got a pretty demonstrative collapse. We started well in game 1, but we never really forced the tempo or established our will to win. We kinda let Spanaway Lake control the match from start to finish. I thought for a minute that we should be leading because we definitely looked like the superior squad judging by our height, offensive might and style, but our play didn’t support that. We never led in game 1 losing 19-25 in a game that we later described as showing little urgency! In game 2, all the energy and spunk we had going into the match was gone. We struggled to start the game and it started looking like we were playing Emerald Ridge all over again. The result a 10-25 thrashing, we just couldn’t pass. In our huddle before game 3, we talked about being urgent about taking it one step at a time, about focusing on trying to get out of the hole we created for ourselves. We started the game with a 4-0 lead and looked as if finally our team was ready to play, we continued to push the tempo and establish the style of the game all the way to a 23-17 lead – then the wheels fell off! We missed our serve and gave up 9 straight points and found ourselves staring at 24-23 match point for Spanaway Lake. We managed to fight back a little and even regained game point but still lost 27-29. There is definitely a life lesson to learn from this, but there is a part of me that thinks we shouldn’t have to make our life lessons this difficult!

Great Start, Bad Finish vs. Emerald Ridge

We played great volleyball in game 1 against Emerald Ridge last night. It looked as though all the hard work we have put into practice was starting to pay off. We passed well, we served well, we hit well, we blocked well, we played defense well on our way to winning the first set by a score of 25-20. About the only thing we did not do well was to continue to play through the rest of the match. After game 1, we were a total different team – we looked confused, sometimes we looked like we were trying “too hard”, sometimes we looked like we gave up “too easy”, and sometimes we looked like we just didn’t know how to play! I wonder if we were satisfied with winning game 1 and forgot that a match is a best of 5. I will confess it was really hard to stomach watching our team dismantle ourselves that way. We lost the next 3 sets and it wasn’t even close. The final result was a 1-3 loss in our league opener to the Jaguars (25-20, 14-25, 8-25, 11-25). I am getting tired saying this, but the silver lining in all this is that we know that when we pass well and play good defense we are a good team! I am hoping we bounce back quickly from this very disheartening loss. Wednesday “hard” practice… Thursday Spanaway Lake!

Beamer finishes in Top 15 at Kent Classic!

The Kent Classic Invitational tournament has always featured top teams from Washington and Oregon over the years – some excellent high school programs represented (including state powerhouse MEAD from Spokane and nationally ranked Central Catholic from Oregon). In just our second year invited to this tournament Beamer has made some nice strides toward becoming a rising high school volleyball program. We surprised many by taking 1st in our morning pool over Eastside Catholic (2011’s WIAA 3A State Runner Up) and Garfield. We found ourselves among some of the highly-ranked high school programs in Washington. Although we didn’t win any more games in the afternoon pool or in the Bronze Division Bracket, we did walk away with the experience of being in the company of some very-good state-bound teams and an idea of what it would look like if we got there. We came into the tournament seeded #27 out of 35 teams and finished 13th! Which is a great finish for our relatively young and rising volleyball program. A positive step in the right direction at this highly competitive tournament!

Kent Classic Tournament Info!

Hey Parents. Here are some things you need to know about the tournament that we will be participating in Saturday (Sept. 22nd).

Location: This particular tournament is held at (3) different locations – Kentwood High School, Kentlake High School and Cedar Heights Middle School. We will start the tournament at Kentwood (25800 164th Ave SE, Covington). There is a chance that we will be having to switch playing sites between pools between 11am-12pm. Where we end up for the afternoon pool depends on how we do in the morning pool. Kentlake HS is located at 21401 SE 300th St. in Black Diamond. Cedar Heights MS is located at 19640 SE 272nd St. in Covington. All the gyms are located within about 10 minutes of each other.

Transportation: We will not have district provided bus transportation to/from this tournament. I have announced this to the players at practice this week. It is their responsibility to get to the tournament on time. They will also need to have transportation to the 2nd gym location if we need to move for the afternoon pool. Please coordinate this with your daughters. We will do a head count at practice today to make sure everyone has transportation. I do recommend that you arrange carpools with other families if you are able to.

Cost: There is a $5 charge (for everyone) at the door. The cost includes entry to all (3) gym locations, make sure you receive a stamp if you pay. It is good for the entire day.

Seating: There will be limited bleacher or chair seating on the courts. You may bring your own chairs or seating to setup in the designated areas of the gym, this is usually up against the walls at the ends of the courts.

Concessions: There will be concessions at Kentwood and Kentlake, but no concessions at Cedar Heights. Please send money with your child if they are interested in purchasing a concession item at the tournament.

Food: There will be designated areas for team tables. The area is limited and will be located in the Hallways of the at the gym sites. I will bring a small fold out table for our team and will bring a Gatorade 5-gallon cooler. But each player needs to bring their own food and water. We will be there all day Saturday, so please make sure your child has a healthy lunch item and lots of snacks throughout the day.

Schedule: The pools appear to be changing with a few teams dropping, but as of now we play at 8 AM. Players need to be at Kentwood by 7 AM to setup our team camp, get into gear, and warmup. Please make sure your child eats a healthy breakfast. We will play a back-to-back match at 9AM. Then referee at 10AM. We will switch gym sites if we need to at 11AM. The afternoon pool will start at 12PM. Bracket play is scheduled to start at 3:30 PM. The earliest we are expected to get out is 5:30 PM. However, we could potentially play up until 6:30PM, or end around 7PM.

Here is a link to the tournament’s website: for more information regarding the tournament, including the teams in the field and our pool. This is our last tune-up before we start league play, so we will be working on lineups and a few different things to see how things work. Hope to see you at the tournament supporting your child and our program!

Pat Taitano
TBHS Volleyball Coach

Beamer falls at home to Kentridge 3-2.

We are 0-2 at home this season, not exactly what we had in mind. Our team certainly plays an exciting style of volleyball, but I would like that to come along with wins. We missed 21 serves, gave up 25 hitting errors usually a formula for an ugly loss, but somehow felt like we should have walked away with this one. It was very exciting match to watch, but we ended up losing 20-25, 25-23, 25-19, 18-25, 13-15. We had 55 kills, 13 aces, passed a 2.06 and had 62 digs as a team, which sounds great but in the end our errors did us in! We have one last tune up coming this weekend at the Kent Classic Invitational – then the “real” season begins!

Beamer takes 5th set win against Auburn!

It was a close and exciting game against Auburn. It was our first 5 set match of the season and I’m glad that we were able to pull off the win! We are still learning what it takes for us to be successful and are steadily improving. Auburn was happy to get their star outside hitter Brooke Good back after recovering from injury, they were playing with a lot of confidence with her heavy hitting in the lineup. Sophie Miller had a solid all around performance recording 24 assists, 5 kills, 5 aces and 5 stuff blocks. I’m pleased that our team was able to force game 5 after being down 2 games to 1. We came out strong in Game 5 and once we got the lead we were able to pull away and secure the victory. Nice job Lady Titans!

Titans Win InterDistrict Match against Jefferson!

The Beamer Varsity volleyball team over-powered the Jefferson Raiders in tonight’s matchup of Federal Way schools. The Titans explosive offense versus a scrappy Raider defense. In the end Beamer was able to pull out a 3 set victory 25-19, 25-15, 25-15 over Thomas Jefferson! The Titans passed a steady 2.2, amassed 38 kills and 15 aces against the Raiders. It was a solid team win for us. We can now look ahead to our next match Thursday against SPSL North Division opponent Auburn, featuring heavy hitting Brooke Good.

Rough Weekend at Bethel Tournament!

It was an up and down tournament for the Beamer Titans at the Bethel Friendship tournament on Saturday. When we passed well we looked like we were among the best teams in the tournament field, but when we didn’t we found ourselves looking very inexperienced and disarrayed. We finished the tournament with a 7-9 set record. We split sets with Bethel, Fife, Mt. Spokane, Wilson and Penninsula. We beat Heritage 2-0, and lost to Puyallup & University (0-2). Our best match of the day was against powerhouse Puyallup – the defending SPSL South Champion, where we passed serve well, hit well, and played our most inspired volleyball of the day! We learned that if we are able to adjust our attitude about passing and establish our will to compete – we are able to play with some of the best teams in our league. We fell just short losing both sets to Puyallup 22-25, 22-25. It was a tough tournament for us overall but we learned some valuable lessons about our team that will make us better!

Lost tough match to Curtis!

Last night we played a solid Curtis squad that outclassed us in the serve-receive game! At times, we showed signs of why we believe we are a playoff calibre team, but we did not have the consistent passing or defense to go head to head with the Lady Vikings. We lost in 3 straight sets, 18-25, 17-25, 11-25, each set we struggled a little more as Curtis cranked up their serving game. We passed a dismal 1.69, giving up (7) aces but only managing to come up with (2) aces on them. We were out of system 54% of the time, which is something we definitely need to work on. We did some good things in the match that we can definitely build on. The great news is the season is young and we have a little time to improve! Looking forward to the Varsity tournament at Bethel this weekend – trying to see if we will be the team that bounces back with the determination to be better!

How did you feel about the Curtis match? Feel free to post a comment, we’d love to get feedback from both our players and fans (that includes you parents out there).

Off to good Start!

Our volleyball team travelled north to play the West Seattle Wildcats today.  It was a great day for a road trip – we took in the sun and took a little time out to enjoy “Menchies” before the match.  JV started things off and set the tone for the evening coming away with a 25-17, 25-14 victory over the wildcats JV squad.  The Beamer Varsity squad followed suit and pulled out a 25-20, 19-25, 25-22, 25-22 win in a closely contested match.  One match down…next up Curtis at home!  Please come out to support your Beamer Volleyball team in our first home game of the season!  JV starts at 6pm and the Varsity game starts at 7:15pm.

Cool Press in the FedWay Mirror!

Link to FederalWay Mirror Article

Volleyball: Beamer ready to take game up another notch, into playoffs

Beamer senior setter/outside hitter Sophie Miller hopes to lead the Titans into the postseason for the first time. Miller has given a verbal commitment to play next year at Eastern Washington. - Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo
Beamer senior setter/outside hitter Sophie Miller hopes to lead the Titans into the postseason for the first time. Miller has given a verbal commitment to play next year at Eastern Washington.

By CASEY OLSON  Federal Way Mirror Sports editor August 31, 2012 · Updated 9:08 AM

The Todd Beamer High School volleyball is hoping to buck the tradition of Federal Way district teams sitting at home when the postseason rolls around.

The Titans return several key players from a team that finished a respectable 3-5 in the rugged South Puget Sound League South Division a year ago. Beamer has never advanced to the postseason in the school’s history. The South is widely recognized as one of the best volleyball leagues in the state and has produced several state placers in recent years.

“We are better and more talented than last season’s Beamer squad,” said second-year coach Patrick Taitano. “We are going to be a tough team to beat and should be very competitive with every team in the SPSL this year, even the perennial powerhouse schools.”

Recently, volleyball wins have been few and far between for the four Federal Way high schools. During the past four seasons, the programs at Beamer, Decatur, Jefferson and Federal Way have combined to win a grand total of 16 SPSL matches, which averages to one win a season for each team.

“Our goal is to be a top-four team in our league, make the SPSL playoffs, do well at the West Central District Tournament and hope we are good enough to get to the state tournament,” Taitano said.

And the Titans seem to have the talent on their roster to make those goals a reality in 2012.

Leading the list of returners at Beamer is senior Sophie Miller. The 5-foot-10 setter and outside hitter has already verbally committed to play next season at Eastern Washington University. She will sign her national letter of intent in November.

Miller was recruited by 10 different college programs, but committed to the Eagles after the EWU summer camp. She plays her club volleyball at the prestigious KJ Volleyball, which competes in tournaments all over the United States.

It will mark the second year in a row that a Beamer volleyball player will receive a scholarship to a four-year university. Last year, Megan Stumpf inked to play at Virginia Commonwealth in Richmond, Va. The 6-foot-4 middle blocker is currently a freshman on a Rams team that plays in the competitive Atlantic 10 Conference.

Beamer also returns Megan Huff, one of the more talented juniors in the SPSL. The 6-foot-3 Huff is currently generating a lot of interest from college programs around the country, according to Taitano. Huff is also a first-team, All-SPSL South performer on the Titans’ basketball team.

Also back are seniors Chloe Mensching and Tatiana Dixon and junior Aliya Ranis. Freshmen Camryn Skari and Nia Alexander will also provide Beamer with depth.

“We have a more complete and experienced team,” Taitano said. “More athletes that have competed at a high level and hungry to do well this season.”

The Titans open their season Saturday at the Emerald Ridge Volleyball Jamboree in Puyallup and play their first match of the year Tuesday at West Seattle High School.

“We have good height at the net and some talented defenders,” Taitano said. “We have an up-tempo offense and good back row attacking. We are a very hard-working, determined and hungry volleyball team. The Beamer program is headed in the right direction and looking very strong for years to come.”

Contact Federal Way Mirror Sports editor Casey Olson at or (253) 925-5565 ext. 5056.

Link to FederalWay Mirror Article

Varsity finished 3-3 at Jamboree.

Well, the season is officially underway and we got a chance to see a glimpse of what we are capable of this year and a few things that we need to work on in practice.  We also got a chance to tryout different starting line-ups as we prepare for our first match of the season.  We ended the day with a 3-3 game record with wins against Wilson (25-22), White River (26-24) and Graham Kapowsin (25-16) and losses against Fife (17-25), Emerald Ridge (10-25) and Monroe (19-25) – which is a nice improvement over Beamer’s 1-5 record at last year’s jamboree.