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.