The Lake Stevens volleyball team had a lot of new things to deal with this season — a new coach and new players in new roles.
The Vikings were fortunate, then, that they could rely on the stabilizing presence of their best returning player, senior setter Lilly Eason.
“This year felt different,” Eason said. “I had the title of captain, and in a way you can put pressure on yourself (with that title) knowing that the rest of the team looks up to you. You have to self-evaluate a lot in that role.”
Eason’s self-evaluation at the end of the season was predictably positive.
“I (achieved) my goals for this season. I didn’t want to have any regrets in my senior year,” said Eason, The Herald’s 2017 Volleyball Player of the Year. “I’m secure with the amount of effort I put in. As a team, we gave it our all, and that’s all we could ask for. I couldn’t have asked for a better senior year.”
Eason was her usual dominant self in 2017. She recorded 736 assists (9.2 per set), 110 digs, a 94.4 serving percentage, 109 kills and a .377 hitting percentage.
“It was a lot of fun,” Eason said. “All of the hitters we had this year were very tenacious, and they all wanted the ball, and as a setter there’s nothing better than working with a hitter that wants the ball. At times I had to make some hard decisions, but those are the best.”
“She worked to understand the hitters more,” said Vikings coach Kyle Hoglund. “She understood the hitters’ abilities and differences, and gave them a chance to do the best they could do. Her peripheral vision is so good that it lets her see what’s really going on. She gets the ball to the places where it needs to go.”
Earlier this month Eason signed a letter of intent to continue her volleyball career at Seattle University.
“I fell in love with the coaching style and the team atmosphere, (which was) diverse and welcoming,” said Eason, who is preparing for her third season as a member of the Space Needle Volleyball Foundation club team.
Academics were a major factor in her college decision, however. She’s interested in studying biology or biochemistry with the intention of pursuing a career as a doctor.
“There’s no (school) better than Seattle U for pre-med,” she said. “I’m keeping an open mind; my dad wants me to look into specialties, but honestly, the opportunities are endless (at Seattle U), so I don’t have a clear path yet. Being an emergency room doctor would be cool; I like the adrenaline rush. I’ve job-shadowed at the Harborview (Medical Center) burn unit and the Everett Clinic, and I think I’d like to work in a big hospital in the midst of chaos.”
Eason has long been interested in science and mathematics.
“I remember conducting my first experiment when I was in elementary school — running water through sand,” she said with a laugh. “Science has always been so cool to me because there’s no limits as to where you can go. You can test theories and find out a guy was wrong (a long time ago). Math is concrete for me, and I like concrete things.”