Things certainly will look different this year when the district volleyball tournaments get underway this week in the area.

But what else is new? It is 2020.

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and the upheaval it has caused, venues have changed and protocols will be strictly enforced when the Class 1A Division I and Division II events begin today.

The most notable difference will be the site of the tournaments. Typically conducted at Lewis-Clark State College’s Activity Center, the event this year will be conducted at school sites. For Division I, Tuesday’s matches will be at Troy and Genesee. In Division II, the entire tournament will take place at Kendrick.

Also the format has undergone a change in Division I, which will only have six teams involved for two state tourney spots. Unlike previous years where it was a true double-elimination format, this year it will be a modified event in which the two host schools will conduct a three-team pod, with the winners of the first matches advancing to play the higher seed later that day. The winners of those matches then will play at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the higher seed in the winner’s bracket final for a berth to the state tournament.

The losers of those first-round matches then will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the higher remaining seed, with the winner advancing to play the loser of the winners bracket final at 7 p.m. Thursday at the highest remaining seed. That winner then will move on to State, and will face off against Wednesday’s winners bracket final winner at 7 p.m. Saturday at the higher remaining seed to determine seeding for the state tourney.

The four-team Division II event — with only one state berth on the line — begins at 6 p.m. today with two matches, starting with Kendrick-Deary, to be followed by Nezperce-Highland. The losers of those matches play at 4 p.m. Tuesday, with the winners playing at 6 p.m. The victorious team in the winners bracket final next will advance to play at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Meanwhile, the losers bracket final takes place at 8 p.m. Tuesday, with the winner of that match advancing to play for the district title Wednesday.

The change in venue is to try to limit contact between teams and fans. It is being asked that spectators physically distance themselves from others and are strongly encouraged to wear masks. If a match is taking place at a school where it has been moved into the yellow stage, masks will be required. Only the fans for the teams playing will be allowed into the gymnasiums. The venue will be cleared once the match is completed so cleaning of the facility can take place.

Genesee was moved into the yellow stage Friday, with it set to begin today. The Tribune confirmed late Sunday the three-team pod the Bulldogs are hosting still will be played despite the lower status.

Ticket prices will be $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students in grades 7-12, $4 for children in kindergarten through sixth grades. Preschoolers will not be charged an entry fee, and Idaho High School Athletic Association passes will be honored. Noisemakers and balloons will be not permitted.

The Class 1A Division I state tournament is Oct. 30-31 at Jerome High School, while the Division II state tournament is the same dates at Burley High School.

Walden may be reached at (208) 848-2258, dwalden@lmtribune.com, or on Twitter @waldo9939.

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