Mount Si’s volleyball team is breaking in its new gym with vigor.
During a recent practice, head coach Bonnie Foote lifted the ball in motion and her Wildcats proceeded to pass, set and hammer it from one side of the net to the other as blockers and defenders got their sturdy hands in on the action as well.
The Wildcats, who made it through to the 4A Wes-King district tournament last season, are ready to make an impact again this fall.
“We’re really excited for this year. We’ve got a lot of girls who are hard working and ready to go,” said Bailey Showalter, a sophomore 6-foot-1 outside hitter. “I think last year I learned a lot just about the importance of being a team.”
Showalter added that the girls are aiming to go far this season by working together and unleashing tons of energy on the court.
As head coach Bonnie Foote glances around the new gym, her eyes widen as she notes that this is her 20th season coaching the talented Wildcats.
“It’s pretty surreal. It’s pretty awesome to open up a new facility. A lot of coaches don’t ever get that opportunity in their lifetime. I feel really lucky to have been somewhere for as long as I have been,” said Foote, who has taught at the school for 25 years.
Foote said she’s had a stellar 20-year run coaching many solid players alongside her great staff. This season, she is joined by assistant and former Wildcat Liz Larson, who went on to play at St. Martin’s University in Lacey.
“Volleyball in KingCo athletics is competitive. It’s just fun to every year see kids come through our program, grow and mature, leave our program and come back,” said Foote, who added that a host of ex-Mount Si players have competed on the college scene.
Earlier during practice, Foote displayed enthusiasm while discussing tactics with her squad, which features returners Showalter, Dana Dolan (senior 5-7 setter), Breana Fitzgerald (senior 5-11 outside hitter/opposite), Megan Underbrink (senior 5-9 middle hitter) and Jade Petrzelka (sophomore 6-foot outside hitter/opposite).
Underbrink said the team brings offensive and defensive strength to the court and the Wildcats hope those qualities — along with team chemistry — can carry them to state.
“It’s just really fun being out there and playing with my team. We all love to be there,” she said. “I’ve always had a lot of fun on varsity. This year, it seems like the team is a lot more intense and more willing to go for any ball. I think we’re gonna be really good this year.”
Junior Lexi Niehaus enters her first season on varsity after playing junior-varsity ball last year. The 5-7 outside hitter/right side looks forward to teaming up with a new set of girls and competing against KingCo squads.
“It’s a super intense environment, super competitive, which makes it easier to play and easier to form as a team. It’s a lot more fun when you’re playing competitively,” she said. “Everyone is going for the same goal all the time and it’s just better to communicate and work as a team.”