Prep volleyball: Royals coach cites inexperience in loss to Issaquah

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The 2017 Lynnwood Royals volleyball team played their first home game of the year Tuesday night, facing off against the Eagles of Issaquah at Lynnwood High School.

The two teams traded well-contested, back-and-forth 25-22 victories in the first two sets, with Issaquah winning the first and Lynnwood capturing the second. The Eagles went on a 10-3 run to start the third set, and didn’t look back from there. They controlled the less experienced Royals for the remainder of the match, winning the third set 25-18 before clinching the fourth set and the match, 25-14.

“We are a very new squad,” Lynnwood coach Annalise Mudaliar said after the match. “We have eight out of our 12 players who are new to varsity this year, so we don’t have a lot of varsity experience. However, we have lots of good players. They work really hard. Our goal is to go to state. We expect to make the playoffs, but again, it takes one game at a time. That’s how we’re approaching it — one match at a time.”

The Royals return just one starter from last year’s team in Junior right-side hitter, Riley Monan. “We look to her to be one of our standout players.” Coach Mudaliar, said while discussing her key returning players. “We have (Setter) Vanessa Guinto, Kiana Pel our Libero is a fantastic defender who we look to be a leader on the team and Meghan Spears on the outside too.”

When asked about the loss to Issaquah, she cited the team’s lack of varsity experience.

“We come out, amped up, ready to play, but then when our back is against the wall, how do we respond?” she said. “Today, we didn’t respond as well as we wanted to, but there were good things we saw. Great defensive work. We just need to work out some kinks and gain that varsity match experience.”

Abby Douglas set the pace on the offense for the Royals, with 10 kills while Riley Monan pitched in 9. Vanessa Guinto led Lynnwood in assists with 14. Libero Kiana Pel had 16 digs and Leia Abiador and Pel each had three aces.

The Royals (0-2) will take the court again on Thursday, Sept. 14, at Lynnwood High School against the Stanwood Spartans (1-1). That match starts at 7 p.m.

–Story and photos by Scott Williams

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