Five freshmen make varsity volleyball team

Emma Bascom, Associate Editor

It is rare enough for one or two freshmen to make a varsity squad, but five? Ally Barnhart, Maya Bascom, Kaitlyn Bell, Kennedy Higgins and Loren Hinkle have all made varsity volleyball this season.

Of the five, Bell, Barnhart, and Hinkle are hitters (offensive specialists), Higgins is a setter (player that assists the hitter), and Bascom is a passer, otherwise known as a defensive specialist.

Head coach Boris Quintero believes that the freshmen add certain qualities to the team.

“They bring a lot of talent, a lot of chemistry and positivism. I think they are very cheerful and even though they’re freshmen, they can contribute to the team in a way that any upperclassman would,” Quintero said.

Barnhart, Bascom, Bell, Higgins and Hinkle are all good friends and have played volleyball together since elementary school. This is apparent on the court, according to Quintero.

“Their chemistry, you can see it. But I also think that with their charisma and their skills, they are accepted by everyone, including the upperclassman, and I think they can contribute in a positive way that they’re showing us right now,” Quintero said.

Bell thinks that it makes it easier to play with girls that she has known for a while.

“We’ve played with each other for so long that we know how to talk to each other. If we get mad at ourselves, [the others] understand and we just know each other really well and that helps us play well together,” Bell said.

Higgins agrees, adding that it is important for setters and hitters to have good chemistry on the team and to know each other well for the offensive aspect of the game.

Bascom believes that the upperclassman have played a huge part in the “gelling” of the varsity team.

“The seniors and upperclassmen have been really good to us. They’ve been showing us the ropes, how everything’s supposed to go, and teaching us how to become better teammates and players … they’re really helping us to click together as a team,” Bascom said. “They definitely did have a big part in us making varsity.”

Another reason they believe they made varsity is that all five play competitive club volleyball, and four of the five participated in nationals in New Orleans this summer.

“It helped a lot because I got a lot of opportunities to play with really amazing girls during the club season. Nationals gave me a lot of extra practice over the summer and playing year round with club has been preparing me a lot for all the practices and extra responsibility that comes with being a varsity volleyball player,” Bascom said.

Bell agrees, adding that seeing “…these tall, huge girls has helped me prepare for what high school is going to be like.”

The girls are also aware of the challenges that they will face because they are younger, but Quintero believes they will rise to the occasion.

“They are being trained right now and I think they’re having a good time, and with challenge they will excel. I think that everybody will face challenges. The difference might be the way that it is handled, and with experience comes knowledge on how to handle that better,” Quintero said. “We will work on getting them ready for those situations and how to handle them. How we handle pressure depends on how much work goes into it. I think that the more we train them to be in situations under pressure, they will handle it better.”

The girls were surprised and excited to make the team—their next goal being to improve and make a run at State.

“Honestly, I just want us girls to succeed and have fun and maybe make it to state … we just need to give it all we got on the court. It’s going to be a good year,” Bell said.