LAKE STEVENS — Kyle Hoglund just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to return to the Lake Stevens volleyball program this season for a second stint as the Vikings’ coach. Hoglund, who served as an assistant and co-head coach from 2004-13, felt as though Lake Stevens’ previous coach, Dawn Hanson, left the program in a position for sustained success, now and in the future.
Meanwhile, new Glacier Peak coach Dave Thorn was intrigued by the possibility of taking over a high school program for the first time since his first coaching job in the early 1990s after spending more than 20 years leading club and college teams.
Hoglund and Thorn possess experience and perspective that have shaped their core beliefs and coaching philosophies.
“I try to be positive and uplifting,” Hoglund said after his team beat the visiting Grizzlies 25-22, 25-22, 25-22 on Wednesday in a battle of early Wesco 4A leaders. “The girls know what to do on the court. I just try to offer encouragement and help them push through (challenging times). I want to help them learn from their mistakes and move on.”
“(I want my players) to control what they can control — their actions and reactions,” said Thorn, who has stints at University of Texas-Pan American and East Central University (Ada, Oklahoma) on his resume. “I want them to stay in the moment.”
The teams entered Wednesday’s match tied atop Wesco 4A with 3-0 records.
Vikings setter Lilly Eason is one of the best players in the area; the Seattle University commit tallied 41 assists and six aces Wednesday. Teammate Hannah Aaenson, an all-Wesco 4A second-team pick a year ago, entered the match with a team-high 46 kills and added 18 to her total Wednesday.
“Our strength is our ability to play together well,” Hoglund said. “We don’t rely on just one person. We’re well-rounded. Each player understands her role and does the best job she can in that role. They want to rise to the occasion. I feel blessed to come back into a situation like this. Coming in, I thought they’d be at a certain level, and they’re already five or 10 steps ahead of where I thought they’d be. We’ve got great leadership.”
Glacier Peak setter Cierra Pratt, who registered 59 assists in the Grizzlies’ previous two matches, posted 21 assists and six digs Wednesday. Teammate Sydney Petersen entered the match with a team-high 31 kills and recorded 11 Wednesday to go along with four blocks.
“We’re versatile,” Thorn said. “We’ve got depth in a couple of spots. We have two senior setters that are doing a nice job, and a big middle blocker in Petersen, who is an asset. Across the board we’ve got good athletes, and I’m able to (deploy) a lot of different lineups. The players are battling hard. So far, so good.”