By Aaron Lommers Herald Writer
SNOHOMISH — The list of awards and honors Snohomish senior Lanesha Reagan has earned in her high school volleyball career is quite long — and getting longer.
After concluding a stellar career with the Panthers in a 3-1 loss to Camas at the Class 4A state tournament on Nov. 16, Reagan has earned one honor that had eluded her — The Herald’s All-Area Player of the Year.
Former Jackson High School star Emmy Allen, who plays at Washington State University, won the award the previous two seasons.
“Emmy, I’ve always looked up to her and I thought she was really, really good,” Reagan said. “So being the All-Area Player of the Year after her is just really cool.”
After Allen graduated in June, the two didn’t get to compete against each other this fall, but they will get that opportunity again next fall when Reagan attends Oregon State University.
“We’ve always been friends,” Reagan said. “I knew her when I started playing club volleyball and then I met her sister (Ashley, the former head coach at Jackson), so we’ve always been friends. I’ve never been super competitive with her, when we play each other, we were competitive but it was never like us being competitive (with each other). It will be exciting. I’m going to be playing a lot of girls I know.”
Reagan burst onto the scene with the Panthers as not only one of the top freshmen in the state, but the entire country. As a self-described quiet freshman, Reagan helped Snohomish to a fifth-place finish at state.
Reagan was the only freshman on a team dominated by seniors. It’s hard to imagine now, but she was intimidated.
“It was scary because all of the girls were so much older and I didn’t want to step on any toes,” Reagan said. “I like didn’t talk at all freshman year, basically. I was just kind of there. I was like, ‘OK, I’m coming to practice and I will play, but I’m not here to make anyone upset and I’m just going to play the best I can.’”
It wasn’t just the social side of the game Reagan needed to work on. She admits her game had some weaknesses.
“Freshman year I couldn’t pass, like at all,” she said. “I was horrible on defense or serve-receive.”
Reagan worked on her problem areas in the offseason with her club team, and ultimately turned them into strengths.
After her first year, Reagan envisioned several return trips to the state tournament, but it didn’t play out that way. Her sophomore year the team had to deal with a rash of injuries and it struggled with chemistry in her junior season.
But this year everything came together.
The Panthers lost just two regular-season matches and tied Edmonds-Woodway and Lake Stevens for the Wesco 4A championship. They entered the district tournament as the No. 3-seed based on a three-way tie breaker determined before the season, but went on to win the district championship, losing only one set in three matches.
As a senior, Reagan and her teammates had to get used to being the favorite, something they struggled with early.
“It was different because I don’t know if the team was super prepared for that and prepared for other teams to want to beat us more than anybody else,” Reagan said. “We really should have been ready for it because that’s how we were against Jackson the past years.”
The Panthers entered the state tournament as the No. 4-ranked team in the state and got their toughest challenge of the year in the quarterfinals facing No. 1 Bellarmine Prep. For the first time all year, the Panthers seemed overmatched.
“It was a little rough,” Reagan said with a laugh. “We just couldn’t really pass. Passing and serving just didn’t really work that game, like at all. It was rough. Bellarmine is a really good team and they have a lot of really good players.”
Bellarmine Prep won the match in straight sets and went on to claim the 4A state championship.
The much anticipated matchup between Reagan, a second-team All-American, and Bellarmine Prep’s Courtney Schwan, a first-team All-American, never materialized into what many expected it would be.
“I was really looking forward to seeing Courtney play against Lanesha,” Snohomish head coach Alex Tarin said. “I knew if we served-received well that Lanesha and Courtney would be going back and forth all night long. It would be a very fun match to be a part of.
“I was a little disappointed we weren’t able to see quite the one-on-one matchup against them that I think would have been really, really fun to watch.”
Despite the Panthers not having their best match, Reagan still managed a team-best 16 kills.
Snohomish lost a loser-out match the following morning to Camas and left the state tournament without a trophy.
Even though her senior season didn’t end the way she hoped, Reagan has no regrets.
“I loved playing for Snohomish,” she said. “It’s definitely made me grow a lot, not necessarily as the best player I can be, but the best person I can be. I think that’s definitely going to help me in the long run.”
As far as all the honors and awards Reagan has earned in her career, she keeps it all in perspective.
“I just don’t take the awards or anything super seriously,” she said. “It’s nice and I love playing volleyball, but at the same time I’m not going to get super attached to anything that’s going on right now because it’s just high school.”
As good as Reagan was in high school, team success always came before individual accolades.
“She just wanted to take the girls with her,” Tarin said. “It was never about her. She doesn’t know her stats and she doesn’t know her awards because she really doesn’t care.”
Aaron Lommers covers prep sports for The Herald. Follow him on twitter @aaronlommers and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.