Freshman Samantha Silke (grey No. 3) hits the ball over the net at a Mercer Island volleyball practice. Benjamin Olson/ staff photo

Freshman Samantha Silke (grey No. 3) hits the ball over the net at a Mercer Island volleyball practice. Benjamin Olson/ staff photo

Islanders volleyball ready to make waves

The Mercer Island volleyball team is working hard toward its goal.

The Mercer Island volleyball team is going into the 2019 season ready to put in the hard work to achieve its goal.

“Our dream every year is to get first place in state,” head coach Samantha Marziello said. “If we’re not here to win, why the heck are we on the floor?”

After having an 8-4 league record last season, Marziello said the Islanders could be a force to be reckoned with this season if the team steps up to the challenge.

“I think we have a lot we really need to work on as a team, but this year we’re really focusing on doing our job on the court and working on a team to get those jobs done,” she said.

The Islanders will be relying on a strong leadership group that includes senior Quinn Casey and junior Alex Thon. Marziello said the two outside hitters are instrumental to the team’s success because they play all the way around the court.

“(Alex and Quinn) bring the energy,” Marziello said. “As leaders, they are consistently playing at 100 percent, which forces the rest of the team to step up their game every single day.”

Along with a solid group of returning players, Mercer Island will have some new talent injected into the lineup with freshmen Leila Obeidat and Samantha Silke. Marziello said they come to practice to play hard and compete, which has improved the work ethic of the entire team.

At the end of practice, Marziello asks the team to grade themselves and self-reflect on their performance. She wants to see the team practicing every day with a gametime mentality.

“They’re a brutally honest team,” Marziello said. “They keep each other honest, but they also keep it honest with themselves. I think it’s really important that they’re the ones answering those questions.”

Looking at the 2019 schedule, the Islanders are surely eyeing their two showdowns with the Bellevue Wolverines. Last season, Mercer Island split the two games against its rival, with the home team winning both. Marziello said the Islanders are hoping to win both matches against the Wolverines this year.

The Islanders have a lot of hard work ahead of them if they are going to win a championship, but Marziello said they are up to the challenge.

“We have a lot to do to get there,” Marziello said. “But I think we have the right mindset and strategy to make it happen.”

Freshman Leila Obeidat (No. 17) hits the ball while other freshman Samantha Silke (No. 3) looks for a block. Benjamin Olson/ staff photo

Freshman Leila Obeidat (No. 17) hits the ball while other freshman Samantha Silke (No. 3) looks for a block. Benjamin Olson/ staff photo

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