Freshmen set tone for varsity volleyball

Freshmen set tone for varsity volleyball

Photo by Brianna Sellers

Jalissa Trotter and Chanell Hayes

Story by Madison Sewell, Staff Writer

Bump. Set. Spike.

Another point for the Lady Tigers.

Teammates Jalissa Trotter, a right front setter, and Chanell Hayes, an outside blocker, high-five each other.

They’ve scored another point for their team.Trotter and Hayes have yet to leave the rotation, an impressive feat.

But that isn’t the only impressive trait the duo share.

Trotter and Hayes are just freshmen. The only freshmen on varsity volleyball to be exact.

***

With her mother as the head coach for the Lady Tigers’ team and a collegiate volleyball player herself, Trotter has been around the sport her entire life.

“I started playing when I was eight,” Trotter said. “I’d practice at volleyball camps my mother was working or with kids she was coaching, but I didn’t start playing on a team until I was twelve.”

Hayes, on the other hand, started playing in the seventh grade.

“I didn’t expect to make varsity,” Hayes said. “I knew I had to work very hard to achieve my goals.”

***

The duo gets into position on the court.

The other team has the ball.

The girl throws it up and serves.

The ball moves impossibly fast until…

Bam. A teammate bumps the ball in Jalissa’s direction.

She sets it effortlessly. Chanell spikes it.

The Lady Tiger fans erupt. Another point closer to winning.

***

After spending summer mornings running, lifting weights, and doing drills, Trotter and Hayes are excited to see their hard work paying off and their goals being achieved.

“I was nervous about starting,” Hayes said. “I didn’t want to mess up, especially in front of the older girls, but instead of being mad about mistakes, they pick us up and encourage us if we mess up.”

***

It’s the last match. Both teams have two wins.

One more win for the Lady Tigers and they’ve won against Spring Hill.

Everyone is on edge.

Fatigue sets in from playing four straight games without rest.

Just one more though.

One more to win.

“Playing in high school is more fast paced than middle school. Instead of just trying to hit the ball over, we practice ‘pass, set, hit,” Trotter said. “It takes experience that most in middle school don’t have.”

Trotter and Hayes also play basketball, softball, run track and do cross country together. Over time, the two became more than just teammates, but are best friends, constantly pushing each other in everything they do.

***

A few points left now.

Lady Tigers are ahead.

Every point they score the team does a cheer.

Pumping each other up.

A careless mistake made by the other team.

The crowd applauds and whistles.

The Lady Tigers just won.

Smiling teammates high-five one another.

Jalissa and Chanell walk off the court together talking and laughing.

Even though they’ve just begun, their future already looks bright.