Eduardo Guerrero always wanted to coach in the town he calls home.
Guerrero, who lives in the Eastgate section of Bellevue, landed the Interlake Saints coaching job prior to the start of the 2017 season. In just two years, Guerrero has turned the Saints into a formidable squad on the volleyball court. The Saints, who captured second place at the 3A KingCo tournament, saw their season come to a close courtesy of a 3-0 loss to West Seattle in the 3A SeaKing tournament on Nov. 8. Interlake finished the 2018 season with a respectable 10-7 overall record.
Guerrero’s peers took notice, as he landed the KingCo 3A/2A Conference coach of the year award. Guerrero was proud of his team’s improvement from the beginning of the 2017 season through the conclusion of the 2018 season.
“Last year we took fourth at KingCo and this year we finished in second place. The girls have been working hard every day in practice and trying to get better. They are buying into the new culture that I want to bring to this program. We made it to districts for the second year in a row. We are starting to see all of the hard work pay off,” Guerrero said. “My goal for our team next year will not be just districts, we want to go to state (tournament).”
Guerrero, a 40-year-old who has coached volleyball since 2003, plans on sticking around at Interlake for the long haul.
“My dream was to coach in this city and in the KingCo Conference. When I got the job last year, I knew this was where I wanted to be,” Guerrero said with a smile.
The Saints will return five seniors off of the 2018 team to the varsity lineup in the fall of 2019. Juniors Natalia Carruthers (outside hitter) and Katie Thomas (setter) earned KingCo 3A/2A first-team, all-league honors at their respective positions during the 2018 season. Saints junior Emily Hendrick also earned second-team, all-league honors.
“Next year is going to be the first year since I have been here where we have at least five seniors on the team. Last year (2017) we had only two seniors on the team and this year we had just one. Having that experience is going to put us in a good spot to be a better team. We have lacked that experience but now we will have it, which is really nice,” Guerrero said. “Even though we just finished the season last week, I am already thinking about next season. I can’t wait to work with this team again.”
Not only will the Saints return five seniors during the 2019 season, they will return a plethora of freshmen and sophomores who performed well during the 2018 season.
“The future for our team is bright. The last two years we’ve had a lot of good freshmen and sophomores. When they are seniors in a couple of years, they’re going to be an amazing group,” he said.