Juanita senior captain Carly Bacher helped lead the Rebels to the district tournament. Andy Nystrom / staff photo

Juanita senior captain Carly Bacher helped lead the Rebels to the district tournament. Andy Nystrom / staff photo

Juanita High volleyballers play with heart

Checking in with senior captain Bacher.

When the Juanita High volleyball squad hit the hardwood for its first match, senior captain Carly Bacher knew they had something special on their side. The girls clicked and bonded from the get-go and cheered like crazy after scoring each point.

It’s been team and family time on and off the court for the Rebels this season and they racked up a slew of wins to advance to the 3A SeaKing District tournament. The Rebels lost in four sets to Ballard on Nov. 8 to end their season.

A three-pronged game plan benefited Juanita: staying intense, keeping their composure and playing smart.

“It’s been amazing, we’ve fought so hard to get where we are,” said Bacher, an outside hitter. “We’ve played with a tremendous amount of heart, which is something that you desperately need in volleyball and we’ve just gone out there and we just play hard the whole time.”

Perhaps the most thrilling victory was knocking off Mercer Island in three straight sets in the 3A KingCo tourney to reach districts.

For Bacher, the win “was out of this world because Mercer has always been a challenge for us, so we were so happy to take that one.”

The Rebels were down 24-19 in set one with the serve in hand and grinded back to win, 26-24, and they rolled from there. Bacher was in the hot seat as the Rebels’ server for seven straight points to notch the win.

“That was scary, I was the one serving, so if I messed up, they would have won,” she said with a laugh. “I just want to keep calm, keep our composure, and everybody, just play our game. During those last couple of points, you can feel the anxiety with everybody and you just want to get the ball over, force them to make the error.”

During the scoring spree, Guen Smith was at the front row swinging and blocking away, and setter Emily Mikiska was running all over the court doing her thing. Bacher said they call their setters the cross country players because they move everywhere, and maybe have to jump over people to make sets.

Bacher took up the sport as a third-grader when she visited the boys and girls club.

“I’ve always been an active kid, so I was just looking for the next sport to play and that’s just something that always called out to me,” said Bacher, adding that her mom went along with it and was one of her first coaches.

There’s always something new to learn while roaming the volleyball court and that’s what Bacher loves about the sport. For example, she said, there’s setting balls to the correct heights for a hitter to register a kill, playing the ball to certain spots for the best attack and finding the other team’s weakest link.

The Reporter asked Bacher a series of questions for a behind-the-scenes glimpse into her life.

What’s your favorite restaurant in Kirkland?

I love Cactus. It’s my go-to.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Smacking gum with your mouth open.

What’s your dream vacation spot?

I want to go to Spain, I just want to see all the buildings over there and just look at the beautiful scenery.

Who’s your idol growing up?

It was mom because she’s always pushed me to do well, and she did amazing in sports. She actually was at Juanita and she played basketball here and she went to state. So I look up to her in that way: if you work hard at a sport, you can get somewhere.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Play with heart and build a brick wall. So if we build a brick wall, we use different strengths from each player (with each player representing a brick).

What do you appreciate most in life?

That would have to be my family, I really appreciate them. They’ve done so much for me over the years and there’s no way I can pay them back for everything that they’ve given me, the endless amount of support and care and love.

What’s your favorite kind of music?

I’ll just kind of listen to whatever, I don’t have really a specific type (pop is one of them). It depends on the mood.

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

It’s “A Christmas Story.” The old classic Christmas movie with the leg lamp, we still have one in my house that we put up every Christmas. It’s my mom’s favorite movie and I’ve just kind of learned to love it, too.

What’s a special skill you would like to learn?

I want to learn how to help empower other people.

What superhero would like to be?

I’d probably want to be Superwoman. Just because she just goes after anything, she’s willing to help other people and she’s just willing to get the job done and save the people around her.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Sports

Kentwood High football. FILE PHOTO
WIAA Executive Board revises Season 1 sports in response to state guidelines

Practices scheduled to begin Feb. 1 for football, volleyball, soccer and 5 other sports

The Mercer Island boys basketball celebrates their 61-36 victory over Interlake in the 3A KingCo championship game on Feb. 11, 2020, at Sammamish High School. File photo
WIAA pushes back return to play for prep sports

Season 2 now begins Feb. 1 and seasons have been shortened to seven weeks each.

In this file photo from March 2020, the Federal Way High School boys basketball team reacts in the final minutes of the state quarterfinals game against Mt. Si High School. File photo
New guidelines released for return of prep sports in WA

The new plan places counties and sports in three-tier systems. No signs of a quicker return to play.

Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices
Doctor IDs safety measures for youth team sports practices

Before practice begins, parents must understand COVID-19 protective protocols

Pictured: A Mercer Island High School swimmer competes in fall 2019. Washington Interscholastic Activities Association recently announced the girls swim and dive season will be moved to “Season 3,” which begins March 1. File photo
WIAA gives schools option to delay start of prep sports until December

An updated plan moves girls swimming to Season 3 and makes fall cross country an alternate season.

The Todd Beamer Titans football team in Federal Way during a 2019 summer practice. File photo
WIAA modifies prep sports calendar; football moved to spring

Washington’s high school athletics governing body announced its revised plans for the… Continue reading

WIAA delays start dates for fall sports
WIAA delays start dates for fall sports

Football practices to begin Sept. 5, all other sports planned for Sept. 7.

Northwest University’s Ford signs with Seattle Mountaineers
Northwest University’s Ford signs with Seattle Mountaineers

The 6-foot-6-inch forward ended his senior season as the No. 1 rebounder in the nation with 12.03 rebounds per game.

Northwest’s volleyball team stays connected during trying times
Northwest’s volleyball team stays connected during trying times

The squad has been using Zoom to hold weekly meetings during which they check in and pray for each other if needed.

No-show season: WIAA announces cancellation of spring sports, activities
No-show season: WIAA announces cancellation of spring sports, activities

Due to the school closure extension, the cancellation includes all practices, competitions, tournaments and championships, WIAA says.

There’s still hope for spring sports, WIAA announces
There’s still hope for spring sports, WIAA announces

Washington Interscholastic Activities Association making contingency plans for high school sports competitions after extension of stay home order.

The WIAA announced Wednesday that if schools reopen at the conclusion of the six-week statewide shutdown ordered last week by Gov. Jay Inslee, then the state championships will go on as planned. (WIAA photo)
WIAA still hoping to hold state championships in May

But if the school shutdown extends past April 24, those championships could be in jeopardy.