The team boasts strong players and a new coach

TIGARD — The Westside Christian High School volleyball team looks to have a lot going for it heading into the 2014 season.

First, the Eagles look to have a strong group of returning players and some promising newcomers.

In addition, Westside Christian will be led by a new head coach in Iben Andersen.Photo Credit: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Iben Andersen takes over as the volleyball coach at Westside Christian.

Andersen, a native of Denmark, joins the Westside program after coaching volleyball for a number of club teams since 1996. Her ages 16U girls club team won the Danish National title in 2012. As a player, Andersen played in Denmark’s National League for 13 years. She medaled in the Youth Beach Volleyball Danish Championships and also earned a silver medal from the Danish National Cup Final.

Andersen takes over an Eagles team that has seven experienced seniors from last year’s team that went 4-10 in West Valley League play.

Among those returnees is senior outside hitter Erin Rowland (5-foot-9), who earned second-team all-league honors last year.

The other returning seniors include outside hitter Tiffany Lemke (5-7), setter Michaela Lau (5-3), opposite/right side Abigail Gillingham (5-7) and middle blocker/right side Stephanie Hilchen (5-11).

“They’ll give us multiple scoring threats in every rotation,” Andersen said.

Also back are senior libero/setter Carlin Chung (5-2) and senior libero/defensive specialist Alexis Goebel (5-1).

Chung is moving to the libero spot this year after playing at setter last year.

“She is an amazing passer and we expect her to battle for the jersey,” Andersen said.

Sophomore outside hitter Elisabeth Stefan (5-6) also returns from last year’s Westside varsity team.

“She was the youngest player on the team, and we expect her to grow as a leader and show her excellent passing skills this season,” Andersen said.

The Eagles also have four incoming freshmen, including setter Jackie Harmon (5-5), who has played club volleyball the past four years.

Another freshman, middle blocker Chloe Brown (5-10), should give the Eagles a presence at the net.

“She had a nose for the block, jumps incredibly high and plays like she is 6-2,” Andersen said.

In May, Brown was selected as one of 15 middle blockers in the nation to get an invitation to the USA Volleyball A1 National Training Program. In July, she was part of the team that won the U14 championship at the Portland USA Volleyball Junior Beach Tour.

Westside’s other two incoming freshmen are middle blocker Jessica Beighle (6-0) and defensive specialist/libero Susannah Fischer (5-4).

“The Westside Eagles are so blessed with a terrific mix of offensive and defensive skills,” Andersen said. “We are very excited for a strong 2014 season in the West Valley League.”

Westside Christian will open its season Tuesday, when it plays at Oregon Episcopal School in a non-league match starting at 6:45 p.m.

The Eagles will start West Valley League play Sept. 4 when it hosts Horizon Christian in a match starting at 7:30 p.m. at West Hills Christian School.

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