KingCo to have dickens of a time beating Eagles’ great expectations

September 1, 2009

By Bob Taylor

 Riley Sorenson sets the ball for a teammate during volleyball team practice Aug. 27 at Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus.

Riley Sorenson sets the ball for a teammate during volleyball team practice Aug. 27 at Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus.

If Charles Dickens wrote a preseason preview of the Issaquah High School girls volleyball team, he would probably title it something like “Great Expectations.”

Wait a minute! He used that title for another book.

Great literature aside, one thing is fairly certain: 3A KingCo Conference opponents will have a dickens of a time beating the Eagles.

Although six players graduated from last season’s team that compiled a 28-4 record, won KingCo and Sea-King District championships, and placed third in the 3A state tournament, the Eagles are loaded again.

Four standouts are back for Issaquah. Outside hitters Casi Schwisow and Jenna Suttmeier, both seniors, earned all-KingCo first team honors and honorable mention all-state honors last year. Kristy LeMond, an outside hitter and libero, and Aubrey Jensen, a setter, earned all-league honorable mention.

In addition, the Eagles have three other returning players to go with a group of promising newcomers.

“Based on last year’s success, this year’s team has real high expectations,” Issaquah coach Todd Parsons said. “As good as last year’s team was, this year’s actually has more fire power.”

Schwisow and Suttmeier provide Issaquah with powerful and experienced hitters.“We been playing together since middle school,” Schwisow said. “We’ve pushed each other to get better. Besides the competition, we’re friends.”

Both Schwisow and Suttmeier played on the Sudden Impact U-17 team that placed third in the Junior Olympic Invitational in July.

Schwisow could set Issaquah’s career record for kills this season. Suttmeier, who finished second in balloting for the league MVP last year, is one of the school’s top all-around athletes. Besides volleyball, she competes in track and field. Last spring, she ran as a member of the Eagles’ state champion 1,600-meter relay team.

“When you have two all-state hitters like them coming back, it makes things a lot easier,” Parsons said.

Jensen, overshadowed by Perry the past three years, takes over the setter duties.

“She is excited to get the reins and show she can run our offense,” Parsons said. “She is very consistent and does everything well. She is flat-out the best competitor I have every coached. There is no one who wants to win more than Aubrey.”

Besides volleyball, Jensen was a starter on the Issaquah girls basketball team, which placed second in last winter’s 3A state tournament.

LeMond is one of the top passers in league. She will be an outside hitter and libero.

Other returning players include Cora Houser, Nicole Gilmore and Kayla Schwisow. Among the newcomers expected to make a big impact is 6-foot-1 Stephanie Jones.

“Stephanie hits the ball harder than anyone on the team. She has a lot of raw talent,” Parsons said.

Other promising newcomers include Alexa Donahe, Janelle Hardebeck, Melissa Gilmore, Jacklyn Borth, Kristen Eide and Kristin Webb.

The success of the team might not be realized in the regular-season win-loss record. That’s because the Eagles’ schedule is tougher this season.

Among Issaquah’s opponents are Garfield and Inglemoor, who competed in last year’s 4A state tournament; Selah, the defending 3A state champion; and KingCo rivals Mercer Island, Newport and Skyline.

But by tournament time, Parsons said his team should be peaking. The Eagles certainly will not be lacking incentive.

“We all have a common goal. We know what we want to do,” Casi Schwisow said. “We want to win state this year.”

Patriots reload

Liberty High’s volleyball team will be shorter this team but won’t be lacking cohesiveness.

A year ago, the Patriots had one of the taller and more talented teams in the league. However, the four tallest players graduated.

“We don’t have a lot of height this year,” Liberty coach Ami Williams said. “We’ll be more of a defensive team. What I like best is that we have a group of girls who will play well together.”

The top returning players are Madison Jones, Shera Shupert, Tiffany Horne and Sydney Safley. Summer Thompson and Sydney Iverson join the varsity as middle blockers.

Skyline back to 3A

After two successful seasons at 4A KingCo, including a league title in 2004, Skyline returns to 3A KingCo with an experienced team.

Leading the squad is Bizzy Williams, an all-league outside hitter last season. Other returning players are Brenda McIntosh, Lindsey Kim, Victoria Nicolov, Gabby Garrido, Talace Togia and Kendra Kisling. Top newcomers include Alex Petroff and Katie Duda.

Bob Taylor: 392-6434, ext. 236, bobtaylor@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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