The Inglemoor High volleyball team won’t have much time to rest on its laurels.
The Vikings pulled off the surprise of the year last season by winning the KingCo tournament and making the state playoffs after finishing fifth in the league standings.
“I think we started playing more as a team,” said Milton Guerriro, who was named the league’s Coach of the Year for the 4A division. “We had a period where we lost five in a row and we had lost something, and we had to find it fast. We did in the playoffs.”
This fall, the squad will look decidedly different. Gone is Kate Carpenter, the league’s defensive Player of the Year and 2014 league MVP, as are first-team hitter Haley Harris and second team setter Emiley Melillo.
Senior Kristen Compton, who was carried on varsity last season and sparingly made the rotation, said the team still needs time to capture the momentum from last year.
“I’d say that we had a pretty good community that went with us,” Compton said. “We’d butt heads, but we’d come back together as a team, and I think that was one of our strongest things. If we had a problem, we could go talk about it.”
But first, the Vikings will have a handful of questions to answer starting with the setter position.
Inglemoor has two options: a sophomore moving up from the junior varsity team, or senior Hanna Gatter, who has been hobbled by a torn ACL from her freshman season and an injured back. Gatter recovered and played on junior varsity last season, but in a brace. She was cleared to play a week before 2016 tryouts began.
Gatter, who is six inches shorter than Melillo, doesn’t seem phased by the jump to the varsity game.
“There are some big shoes to fill, but I feel like I’m ready for it,” she said.
Returning junior Kammie Perkins earned honorable-mention status last season, the only returning player to have made the all-league lists.
Perkins carried a decent portion of the offense last season behind Harris, including eight games in which she finished with 10 kills or more. As the most-experienced option, Perkins is likely to handle a majority of the attacks.
Perkins said she hopes to repeat Inglemoor’s performance and qualify for the state tournament.
“Our coach said we’ll just try to go again,” she said. “That’s our motivation. We have eight seniors, so we want to do it for the seniors.”
One player who could see a big role on the front line is Amanda Luckett. The 6-foot-1 senior was listed as a hitter last fall, but saw more time as a blocker than any returning player.
Phoebe Harris and Maddie Smith, both juniors, were used defensively last season.
Inglemoor is scheduled to kick off the season on Sept. 6 at Lake Washington High School.