Eagles carry 2009 hot streak into this season

September 28, 2010

By Staff

Volleyball preview

Rachel Roeder defends against a Woodinville volley during a 2008 Eagles victory. By Greg Farrar

The Issaquah High School volleyball team seems to be picking up where it left off last season – hot!

Issaquah finished the 2009 season with three straight victories at the 4A state tournament. Entering this week, the Eagles had won their first four matches of the season. Included among the triumphs were 4A KingCo Conference victories against Inglemoor and Bothell.

And, the Eagles also had a special 3-1 nonleague victory against Kentwood, which defeated Issaquah in the opening round of last year’s state tournament.

“That victory was a great step forward. We have had some really tough battles with them and have always came up short,” Issaquah coach Todd Parsons said. “The best part about the match is the girls just stayed on task and finished them. That was a major step for this group.”

Issaquah went 23-9 last year. The Eagles finished third in the regular-season league standings, but came back to capture the District 2 championship. After losing to Kentwood at state, Issaquah fought back to finish fifth.

The Eagles have the talent, experience and a winning attitude – just the right components for another successful season.

Issaquah has one of its most experienced teams in several years. The roster includes six seniors, who have been on varsity all four years.

“They are great young women and have learned so much over the years. It is a special group,” Parsons said.

The six seniors are outside hitters Rachel Roeder, Sara Hanna, Riley Sorenson, liberos Alexa Batiquin and Maddy Emerson, and setter Maggie Reingold. Each has a special quality.

Roeder, who earned second-team all-league honors last year, is a four-year starter.

“She has been battle tested like no other hitter in Issaquah volleyball history,” Parsons said.

Sorenson, who also was a second-team all-leaguer last fall, is another four-year starter.

“The team looks to her to be a calm and steady leader on the floor,” Parsons said.

Hanna, another team leader, and Sorenson are team captains.

Batiquin is a three-year starting libero.

“She is one of the most consistent passers I have ever coached,” Parsons said.

Emerson is a versatile player who can fill in just about anywhere on the floor.

Reingold is another battle tested veteran and team leader.

Another key senior for the Eagles is outside hitter Misty Siochi, who has been sidelined because of a back injury.

Among the players moving up to the varsity ranks this season are junior outside hitter Sam Rogers, senior middle blocker Jenna Pang, and sophomore middle blockers Kirsten Fischer and Cassie Elenes.

“I have a lot of optimism for this group,” Parsons said. “They have really worked hard over the years. This group has a great level of team chemistry and is very tough on the floor. This team never quits. If the girls keep their focus on improving every day and give their best every day, good things will happen.”

Thus far, good things are happening. Issaquah opened league play Sept. 20 with a 25-11, 25-14, 25-21 victory against Inglemoor. Roeder had 12 kills, 12 digs and three aces to lead the Eagles. Sorenson had 32 assists, Hanna had 14 kills and Batiquin had10 digs.

The Eagles followed up that victory by defeating Bothell 25-12, 25-18, 25-17 Sept. 22. Hanna had eight kills, Rogers five kills and four aces, and Batiquin had 12 digs.

Skyline off to winning start

The Spartans have been through the emotional wringer since head coach Mark Peterson resigned part way through the 2009 season to help his son through chemotherapy treatments. Peterson was back in the preseason, but had to step down again to deal with an unanticipated new dose of treatment. Since then, Skyline hired new coach Richard Abiador.

But the girls, led by senior right side hitter Paige Haas and junior setter Madison Stoa have still gotten off to a good start. The Spartans started the season 4-1 and look to improve on their 7-7 record from 2009.

Leading the bid for playoff prominence will be returning junior outside hitter Maddie Magee, Stoa, senior middle blocker Jocelyn Reynolds, sophomore middle blocker Marissa Fortier, Haas and sophomore outside hitter Halle Erdahl. Andrea Chon, a senior, and sophomores Kennedy Stoa and Emily Harris will start as defensive specialists.

“We have a lot of talent on the team and a lot of new faces that will push the team to be better,” said assistant coach Laura Gacayan. “We have some amazing defensive players this season and I think we will frustrate a lot of teams by keeping the ball alive.”

Skyline got its league season off to a winning start Sept. 20 by defeating host Garfield 3-2. The Spartans won 25-23, 20-25, 25-14, 18-25, 15-11. Magee had 18 kills and Madison Stoa 34 assists.

Patriots show promise

The Liberty Patriots are off to a promising start in the 3A/2A KingCo Conference. Liberty entered this week 3-3 on the season, 3-2 in league competition.

On Sept. 20, Liberty downed Lake Washington 3-1. The Patriots dropped the first game 22-25, but bounced back to win 25-19, 25-15, 25-21. Megan Tsutakawa, who earned all-KingCo honorable mention last season, had a spectacular performance with 37 assists, three blocks, five aces and two kills. Liberty got strong play up front from Katie Walsh and Molly Culwell, who each had 12 kills. Kristy Braunston played well defensively and was strong server. She led the team with 17 digs and seven aces.

In addition, Aspen Winegar contributed six aces, six kills and five digs; Sarah Hewitt had three kills and five blocks; and Taylor Weik had five kills, three aces, seven digs and two blocks.

Liberty’s other league victories came against Bellevue 3-0 Sept. 13 and Sammamish 3-2 Sept. 15.

In the victory against Bellevue, Tsutakawa had 30 assists, 12 digs and three aces. Winegar contributed six kills, 14 digs and five aces, and Braunston had 19 digs and six aces. Alanah Bell added two kills and two blocks, and Lindsey Linden had three kills and nine digs.

Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or chuber@isspress.com. Bob Taylor: 392-6434, ext. 236, or bobtaylor@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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