After graduating seven players from last year’s team, nobody knew what to expect from the Issaquah volleyball team in 2019.
The Eagles have gotten off to a flying start, going undefeated through their first eight games, including a 4-0 league record. Olivia Morgan, the setter and one of the senior captains, didn’t expect the Eagles to be where they are now.
“We didn’t really think we would be good this season after we graduated over half of our team,” Morgan said. “But we have really good chemistry with all the girls. We love each other so much and I think that’s what is pushing us forward.”
Middle hitter Sidney Cottrell, one of the other senior captains, said the team has been able to build chemistry quickly.
“I wasn’t expecting how well we came together as a team,” Cottrell said. “We didn’t know half of our team coming into the season, so the ability to mesh and group and really play together is really cool.”
The Eagles continued their perfect season by sweeping the Skyline Spartans (2-6) in three sets (25-12, 25-16, 25-17) at Issaquah High School on Oct. 7.
“It was really fun,” Morgan said about the victory. “Skyline is our rival so it’s really nice to beat them. It felt like we had really good energy, so it was fun to play.”
The matchup with Skyline is always one of the most important games of the year for Issaquah. Another date that was circled on their schedule was their game against the Eastlake Wolves. Last season, the Wolves handed the Eagles their only loss in the regular season. Issaquah got revenge this time around, sweeping Eastlake (25-17, 25-17, 25-15) on Sept. 18.
Cottrell said winning those games against Eastlake and Skyline are a result of their hard work.
“It feels like our hard work from practice is paying off,” Cottrell said. “It’s really cool to be able to see that in the game.”
The veteran players like Cottrell and Morgan have been a big reason for Issaquah’s success, but there have also been plenty of contributions from some of the new players on the team. One of those contributors is setter Annie Lorenz, the only freshman on the team.
“(Annie Lorenz) has become really vocal on our team,” Cottrell said. “She’s really come out of her shell, along with a bunch of other girls.”
Lorenz made one of the biggest plays of the game against Skyline with a diving one-handed dig, also known as a pancake.
“Annie had an amazing pancake,” Morgan said. “It was so good.”
There are still plenty of tough opponents left on the schedule including North Creek (7-2) on Oct. 14, and Newport (7-3) on Oct. 23. Morgan said they need to continue to work hard at practice if they will be successful.
“We can go back and figure out what we did right and what we did wrong and work on it at practice so we’re ready,” Morgan said.