Cherry bomb

Senior Bella Cherry reflects on her volleyball career


Braylen Garren

Senior Bella Cherry sets a ball in match against Pleasant Grove Aug 23, 2022. The Lady Tigers defeated PG in Cherry’s final Texas High rivalry match 3-1.

Story by Kailyn Williams, Sports Editor

Two student sections filled to the brim. Overflowing crowds of people. The court is trapped between two shockwaves of electrifying energy. 

Pleasant Grove students stand, taunting Senior Bella Cherry with chants of, “Overrated! Overrated!”

Cherry closed the night with 28 kills, bringing home a huge win against their rivals. 

“A core memory in my volleyball career has to be playing against Pleasant Grove this season,” Cherry said. “We had worked so hard towards that win all summer and it was an incredible experience.”

Cherry has been playing volleyball since sixth grade. Six years of her blood, sweat and tears poured into this sport. 

Going all the way back to middle school, Cherry was big into softball. That was her sport, until she became burnt out. Volleyball gave her something new to look forward to, something new to put her time and energy into. 

“Middle school volleyball was really fun for me because I got the chance to learn something new,” Cherry said. “I ended up loving it even more than softball, it became my favorite sport.”

 Cherry’s decision to stop playing softball after her love for volleyball had grown would end up being one of the best decisions of her life.

“I lost my passion for it and I knew I wasn’t going to want to play in college,” Cherry said. “I wanted to shift my focus to volleyball.”

With her decision to shift her focus to volleyball, she decided to pick up club. 

Club volleyball is travel volleyball that opens up girls to higher level competition. Another big thing about club volleyball is the college exposure. College scouts attend the big tournaments for recruitment. 

Cherry started playing club volleyball in the seventh grade, for a local club team called The Compound. 

“I first got involved with club because I heard about it from several friends,” Cherry said. “My family and I decided it would be a good opportunity for me.”

Being introduced to club gave Bella the extra practice she needed to start honing her abilities. 

“Starting club turned out to be really good for me,” Cherry said. “I was able to get in extra reps and that’s when I started getting better.”

Every summer, Texas High volleyball hosts a Ty Jenkins camp. Ty Jenkins runs a club team out of Dallas, Untouchables EPA.

The summer going into her freshman year, Bella was recruited from the camp by Ty Jenkins to go play for his club team. 

This would give her the opportunity to play in front of more collegiate coaches, and against much better girls, than for Compound. Cherry went to tryout for his club, making his top team, 16’s Diamond.  

The extra time on the court put Cherry in a good position going into her freshman season. The previous year’s team had just gone four rounds deep into the playoffs, so her freshman year they were rebuilding after the loss of so many seniors. 

Going into the 2019 season, the Lady Tigers were looking to rebuild after the loss of so many seniors. After putting in so much work going into high school, Cherry secured a starting varsity spot in her first year. 

“I was pretty nervous at first,” Cherry said. “There was a lot of stress going into the season, but all the upperclassmen were patient with me until I got the hang of things.”

The Lady Tigers had a young team, complete with mostly underclassmen.

The youth on the team made for a difficult district showing, but it gave Bella something to learn from and to look back on in the years to come. 

“We took a lot of losses that season,” Cherry said. “My freshman year taught me how to persevere and stay strong through the toughest situations.”

Since their year of reconstruction, Texas High has had a successful volleyball program, and Bella Cherry is still playing a great role in that success. 

“Bella is an incredible player,” junior Mally Lumpkin said. “She’s such a vital member of our team, we can feel her absence every time she isn’t on the court with us.”

Bella spends more time on the court than at home during volleyball season, this includes summers during workouts, practices and camps. 

After being at every workout possible and performing strong in practice as well as in games over the past three years, Cherry stepped into a well-earned leadership role going into her senior year. 

Though Bella has put in all of the hard work to get her ability to where it is now, none of it would’ve been possible without the help of her family and coaches. 

“My family are definitely my biggest supporters,” Cherry said. “They’ve driven me to every practice, been at every game, paid for everything I’ve needed. They’ve been there for me every step of the way and, for that, I’ll always be grateful.”

Her family isn’t the only reason she’s the player she is now. Bella has had multiple coaches over the years who have pushed her to be her best. 

“Coach Hardy and Coach Holland have shaped me into, not only the player, but the person I am today,” Cherry said. “They never let me settle, they always want more from me.”

Over the years, Cherry has been brought out of her shell with the help of the coaches surrounding her. 

“It’s fun to see such growth in a talented athlete,” Assistant Coach Robin Holland said. “ I’ve always seen the competitive beast in Bella and to see her develop and prove her dominance is so incredible to be a part of.”

Co-Director of Untouchables EPA Ty Jenkins recruited Cherry to play for his top 16’s club team the summer before her freshman year. 

This opportunity gave Bella the chance to play in front of college recruiters, and against some of the best club players in the nation. 

“Playing for Ty at UEPA pushed me to a different level,” Cherry said. “Without it, I definitely wouldn’t be the player that I am today.” 

Cherry has offers from two division one schools and one division two school. Throughout the duration of her senior year, high school and club, she hopes to stack up a few more offers. 

“My biggest goal in volleyball has always been to play in college,” Cherry said. “That’s what I’ve been working towards since I started.”

Not only is Cherry a good person to have on the court, but she’s a good person to be around off the court as well. 

“Bella is always finding ways to make people laugh,” Lumpkin said. “She brings such good energy to the team on and off the court.”

Going into her senior season, Bella and the Lady Tigers have big goals. 

“So far we are looking good, especially for how young we are,” Cherry said. “I want us to be back-to-back district champions, and I fully think that we have the capability to do so.”