KingCo 4A is taking a risk this post-season.
It could end up with three playoff berths in soccer and volleyball, or it could get just one.
The league struck a deal with the Greater St. Helens League 4A last spring to play for its second state playoff berth and possibly win a third as well.
With nine teams, typically KingCo 4A is given two state playoff seeds, and with seven teams, GSHL 4A has one. This year the GSHL will put their only seed on the line and compete to possibly earn two seeds.
“The benefits are a chance to get a third team to qualify beyond league play,” said Redmond athletic director John Applegate, who helped negotiate the deal. “We feel we have teams in our league that get left behind, and we want to give that team an opportunity.”
The one-year deal applies to soccer and volleyball in the fall, and basketball, baseball, and softball in the winter and spring.
At the end of each league’s district playoffs, the following will happen to determine state playoff seeding:
KingCo No. 1 goes directly to state at District 2 No. 1 seed
State play-in games (Nov. 7, 2 p.m.)
KingCo No. 2 hosts GSHL No. 2: winner to state as District 2 No. 2 seed; loser out
KingCo No. 3 travels to GSHL No. 1: winner to state as District 4 No. 1 seed; loser out
The set-up is similar to an agreement KingCo 4A had with Wesco 4A from 2010 to 2013 and with GSHL 4A in 2006 and 2009.
KingCo coaches have given the bi-district agreement the thumbs-up.
Mount Si volleyball coach Bonnie Foote said the agreement is a positive thing for the league.
“It’s what’s best for kids,” said Foote. “As coaches, of course you hope everything falls in your direction.”
Foote coached the Wildcats when they competed in KingCo 3A and the district tournament included two leagues instead of one and boasted more playoff berths. Moving up to a tough KingCo 4A league with fewer playoff spots, it’s a bigger challenge for teams to make the postseason.
For Issaquah head soccer coach Tom Bunnell, the agreement means better preparation going into the state tournament, even if it puts more pressure on the Eagles to win the No. 1 seed and automatic state bid in districts.
“[The GSHL] teams are really good,” Bunnell said. “They’re competitive against each other. When our KingCo teams face them, it will be good competition.”