||Mercer Island Islanders|
This past fall was an absolute dream season for the girls on the Mercer Island volleyball team. Having been a part of the Mercer Island volleyball program for the past four years, I had been dreaming of a State title along with the rest of my teammates. The fact that this aspiration became reality in my senior season was an absolute dream come true. A dream come true for not only me, but for the entire Mercer Island volleyball community.
Mercer Island Volleyball has always been a very competitive program with multiple league titles and high finishes in the State Tournament, but a first place state trophy had never been claimed for the Islanders.
Last year’s season, my junior year, was the year that we were supposed to win it all. With 10 seniors and high levels of experience across the whole team, we were ranked first in the State right away. With goals set high we truly believed we would go all the way. After winning the league, and coming first place in our district tournament with an undefeated record, we believed we were ready. After a heartbreaking 5 set loss in the first round at State however, the title was no longer in reach for us.
This season, with our few returners and a mostly brand new team, we weren’t sure of our potential. After working hard and finding our identity as a team however, we realized that we had the ability to go very far. With a chip on our shoulder from last year’s heartbreak, we went for it. We again won our league and district championship, and went into the State Tournament with steadfast determination. We played our hearts out the entire weekend. Without relenting, we made it to the final. After a nail biting 5 set battle, we came out victorious. The feeling was indescribable as tears of joy, relief, and pride filled all of our eyes. The celebration lasted for weeks.
Bringing home the first State Title was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever been a part of. I am so thankful to have been a part of the Mercer Island volleyball program and to know the amazing girls and athletes that I had the privilege of playing with. To be a part in making school history is an accomplishment that I, and the rest of my teammates will never forget and will forever cherish.
(Photos courtesy of Northwest Sports Photography)