SVSJ preview: MSHS volleyball reloads for another run in 2017

EDITOR’S NOTE: We continue our series today of high school fall sports previews with a look at Mount Si High School volleyball.

After a season which saw them finish around .500 last fall with a trip to the Kingco playoffs, Mount Si High School’s volleyball team is reloading this fall, and could once again make another run.

Back for her 18th season as head coach, by far the dean of coaches in the Kingco Conference, is coach Bonnie Foote. She’s looking forward to the season ahead. “It’s looking stronger for sure, I’m excited,” she said.

A number of seniors, many returning but one newcomer, are expected to form the core of the team this season. The returners include Lillian Bachand, Emma Anderson and Jessica Hanners, but the newcomer could be a pretty important piece once all is said and done. Her name is Molly Gill and she joins the program after being part of Skyline’s program last season. She plays the “libero” position, which is a defensive-oriented position in the sport. Mount Si has had its share in recent years of great liberos, and Gill will look to maintain that strong success. “She’s going to add a lot of fire to our defense,” Foote said. “She’s scrappy and she’s competitive and we really love that about her.”

Foote adds that her senior group is committed to excellence in 2017. “I think our seniors are pretty fired up. They’re very committed and they’re very loyal to our program and to me and I really appreciate that,” she said.

The senior class will be augmented by a strong junior class as well. Hayley West, Bellah Gogan, Annaliese Jensen, Sara Kaitlyn Mitchell and Kamryn Smith are all expected to see ample playing time this fall for Mount Si.

Two names you do not see this fall for the first time in several years are Carr and McCreadie. With the graduations in June of Courteney Carr and Katie McCreadie, the association of those two girls’ families with the MSHS program, associations which for both lasted for several years, came to an end. Foote doesn’t believe their exits make a difference. “I don’t know that it really changes things up,” she said.

A common denominator, however, that you do see with a lot of this year’s top returners is that they all played club volleyball in the spring. If you followed our club coverage this season, you know that many of these players got a chance to play with some of the top local club programs in the region. Anderson and Gogan played for Mercer Island-based Island Thunder; West, Bachand and Hanners competed for the Kent-based KJ, a club program Foote has had a past association with, and Smith and Jensen plied their skills for the Bellevue-based Northwest Juniors.

The coach is pleased to see those players having continued to work hard in the offseason with their club efforts. “I think some of our top kids played on some competitive teams and they’ve got some great coaching, which is great,” Foote said. “If you can get kids getting good coaching all year round, you hope that your high school season is going to be better.”

Foote, in addition to her duties as head coach and as a physical education teacher at Mount Si, on the side handles day-to-day business operations – and also coaches younger kids – for the RidgeValley club program, a club in Snoqualmie which she helped found a number of years ago. RidgeValley, Foote notes, is having a bigger impact on her program that you might think. Pointing out that many of the varsity players played for her as 12-year olds within RVVBC, the coach said, “For me, I’m pretty proud about that because we offered opportunities to these kids to keep playing volleyball in our Valley and they’re homegrown,” she said.

The program this past spring offered teams from the 12U to the 15U designations, which has been their primary age groups since forming. They do not field high-school age level teams, as many of those players move on to higher-level clubs such as KJ, Island Thunder or Bellevue-based Sudden Impact, a program Mitchell played for this spring and whose under-17 team, with former Wildcat Patience O’Neal, finished as a runner-up in the USA Volleyball Nationals tournament this summer in Minneapolis.

Foote believes that her team just needs to be unified behind one goal. “I feel like we’re solid,” she said. “It’s just about coming together as a team and playing the game at a high level.”

The league is expected to be tough once again this season, with Skyline, Newport and possibly Eastlake being the key teams to watch this season.

Mount Si’s schedule opens tomorrow at Juanita High School in Kirkland with a preseason jamboree. Their first game is next Tuesday night, when they host Kingco newcomer North Creek, for what will be that school’s first-ever volleyball game. The Wildcats will have a pair of Saturday tournaments this year – they are back for another year at the Kent Classic, and they’re also competing at a tournament in Sumner. Mount Si this year also has a rare Saturday afternoon game, and that is on October 21 as they host Eisenhower from Yakima, who they beat last season over on the east side of the Cascades. That game starts at 1:00 p.m. with all other home games during the week starting at 7:00 p.m. at MSHS’ gymnasium in Snoqualmie. Fans are reminded that with ongoing construction, the parking and entrance to the gym is in the back of the school off Schusman Ave. SE.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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