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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.

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