Three years ago, Interlake volleyball player Katie Thomas had never played setter. Now in her senior year, she has been awarded the 2A/3A KingCo most valuable player honor and was also named to the first-team all-league squad.
Thomas said receiving the honors validated all of her hard work.
“It means so much,” Thomas said. “I think I owe it all to my teammates and coaches. They’re the ones who finish the balls I set, or pass the balls I set. My coach was the person behind me becoming a setter. That has obviously made me into the player that I am. I owe it all to them.”
Interlake head coach Eddie Guerrero told Thomas before her sophomore year that he wanted her to play setter. Thomas agreed, and ever since that moment, she has grown into a key piece for the Saints, bringing consistency and leadership to the team.
“You see her setting and it looks like she has been setting for a long time,” Guerrero said. “She’s amazing.”
Early in her first season of being a setter for the Saints, Guerrero said they would rotate Thomas so she would only play in certain situations.
“I knew she was getting ready, but I knew it wasn’t the right time,” Guerrero said. “But then the coaches and I decided that if (Thomas) was going to start setting, she needed to go right now.”
After coming to the decision to make Thomas the full-time setter in the second half of the season, Guerrero has seen Thomas get better each year.
“She just started developing and getting better,” Guerrero said. “Her growth has been huge.”
Thomas said she stays level in tight situations and is able to be a calming presence for her teammates. The Saints have had their fair share of close games on their way to the 3A state volleyball tournament. Interlake won three loser-out games during the district tournament to extend its season.
Along with Thomas, senior outside hitter Natalia Carruthers received second-team all-league honors. Honorable mentions for the Saints included senior middle blocker Hailey Killeen and senior outside hitter Lauren Riffe.
Other local players receiving 2A/3A KingCo all-league honors:
Bellevue: Bellevue head coach Jamie Tingelstad was named the coach of the year. First team: Mia Vong (setter) and Jessica Buxton (middle). Second team: Julia Bray (outside hitter), Carly Burns (libero) and Kaitlyn Watson (middle). Honorable mentions: Izzy Koo and Megan Weber.
Sammamish: First team: Katelyn Nagel (middle). Second team: Katelyn Bland (setter). Honorable mentions: Ezabelle Alvarez and Sierra Hopper.