With the regular season coming to a close and the Eastlake Lady Wolves boasting a successful 19-3 winning season, Coach Sara Goldie was named the 2022 4A KingCo Coach of the Year for girls basketball.
The Lady Wolves have been on a tear, achieving one of their best season records ever, including a 15-game win-streak. Coaches across the league chose to recognize this accomplishment.
“The process in which [the Coach of the Year] is chosen is what makes the award so special because you are selected by your peers,” Goldie said. “I think it’s an honor knowing that coaches — people we compete with — selected me to be Coach of the Year.”
She credits much of the season’s success to the consistent hard work from her players. Goldie believes that the talent and work ethic of the student-athletes kept the team strong during a year in which the team had fewer varsity veterans compared to previous seasons.
Part of their success this season came from the team’s focus and studious preparation for each game. Goldie believes the first victories of a season often stem from their work ethic, athleticism and talent. But as the season progressed and the games became more competitive, the ladies relied on the system developed during the season to gain advantage over their opponents.
The core of the Eastlake system is built on defense.
“Defense carried us through our tough moments. Whenever things feel out of hand or there’s some concern regarding how we should get back to this game, we rely on defense [which] creates our offense,” Goldie said.
However, it was not always smooth sailing, and the Lady Wolves faced several obstacles throughout the season, often outside the gym. Most notably, the entire team fell ill with COVID-19 from December 18 through the new year.
“We missed three games during the middle of the season, which messed up our entire trajectory,” Goldie said. “The first few games after that…there was absolutely a sense of not being where we were when we left off.”
During this period, the team missed key moments to practice and had to cancel a scheduled game on Dec. 21.
Despite these challenges, Goldie recounted that their most notable games were those where the community showed up to support the team.
“Senior night [on Jan. 28 against Skyline] was a pretty special night because the gym was packed, and so it felt like 2019, just tons of fans, the whole community, there to celebrate our seniors,” Goldie said. “It was just a super fun night.”
As the team looks forward to post-season action, Goldie said she will stick with what is worked best — taking everything one game at a time.
“As a coach…we have to do our homework and look ahead. There’s a really good chance that we’re going to see more KingCo teams for second and third, maybe even a fourth time,” Goldie said.
Even when discussing Eastlake’s third game against Inglemoor on Feb. 11, an opponent in which the Lady Wolves have triumphed over twice already, Goldie emphasized caution and focus. Eastlake ended up defeating Inglemoor again.
Goldie has been Eastlake’s head coach for 13 years. Even after all this time, she said the experience is as enjoyable as ever.
“Coaching is all about relationships,” Goldie said. “I think I have the best job in the world where I can come in and teach young women the sport that I love and build relationships around it that last way longer than the years the girls played.”