Dylan Sawyer, Reporter

The crowd roars as the volleyball slams onto the wooden court. The Olympia High School volleyball team has won another match. Last year, the Bears had a shaky season, going 4-10 with a league record of 2-6. This is year, things have changed. Olympia is off to a hot start, winning 5 out of the first 8 games.

Senior captain, Elise Matheson said that their main goal this year was to have a better league record than last year, and they’re doing just that, starting league play with a huge wins over Sumner in four sets and rival Bellarmine Prep in three sets. When asked about the reason behind their success this year, Matheson said, “We have pretty much the same team as last year, but we’re all determined to get better together and be more competitive.” The bears are using last year as fuel for this year to prove that they can compete at a very high level in a tough South Puget Sound League.

Kalissa Lane, a junior setter and defensive specialist, said, “We are determined and motivated to work hard in practice which teaches us to compete in games. This had helped us come together as a team.” The team has adopted a determined mindset this season which has helped them succeed. According to Lane, the team aspect of this year’s squad has separated them from last year. Just a junior, Lane thinks that this success will carry on or years to come saying, “I believe we will keep the same mindset going into next season with will contribute to our success.

Head coach Laurie Creighton is another reason for the bears success this year. Creighton in her fourteenth year at the helm, has learned that winning, which she has done a lot throughout her career, pales in comparison to the growth of her players on and off the court. Her mindset towards making great volleyball players and even better people has helped change the mindset of the Olympia Volleyball program and the community around it.

Just seven years ago in 2011, the bears won the class 4A state championship, going losing just three games all year and going 6-1 in league play. Ever since that historic season, the bears haven’t been quite the same. Some years, the Bears were bounced early from the playoffs, other years they came up short of the playoffs altogether. This year, the bears hope to change that.

With six more games left in the season, the bears have the playoffs in sight. According to Max Preps, the Bears currently are projected to get the last spot in the playoff bracket. With a few more decisive wins, the bears have a very good shot to make another run deep into the playoffs. But the road to the playoffs won’t be easy. This year has put the bears back on the map in the arena of volleyball and they’re just getting started.