Everyone loves a little bit of senior leadership.
Kayla Quick is loving all nine.
The Mattoon High School volleyball coach just entered the coaching scene with this group of freshman years back. After tumbling to a 2-11 record last year, the group returned 13 players with nine seniors. With the season still very young, the Green Wave have jumped out to a 7-3 record, already tripling their last year’s season win total.
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it one hundred times more, this group of girls amazes me with their chemistry and passion for the game of volleyball,” said Quick. “Nine of my thirteen varsity players are seniors, and I have every confidence that they are setting the bar high for the juniors on the varsity squad as well as for the rest of the girls we have in the program.”
Averie Smith leads the team with kills, while Bella Smith is right behind with 46. Bella Smith also leads the team in assists and aces. Faith Niebrugge completes the triple-threat with 37 on the season. Holly McReynolds leads the team with 12 blocks, while Nibrugee leads the team with 87 digs, while Chloe Jobe is in the mix with 79.
While not every senior shows up at the top of that stat sheet, Quick said that each has a role on this team that has helped spur a quick turnaround.
“Their positivity, hustle, and perseverance seeps through and reaches all levels of our program,” said Quick. “They challenge every member of Mattoon High School’s volleyball team to show up better than they did the day before. The fire these seniors bring to the variety squad has carried them above and beyond their 2-11 season record from last year, but we’re not done.”
Quick was very impressed with the team’s three-set victory over Lincoln last week. Mattoon finished last in the Apollo Conference but sits with a 2-1 record in the early conference season.
“Our match against Lincoln last week proved that these girls are capable of anything they set their minds to,” said Quick. “With that mentality, I am confident that these girls will leave a mark on the MHS volleyball program for years to come.”
The Green Wave will have a chance to continue to pave their mark in the history books with two tough opponents this week. Mount Zion and Taylorville, both expected to compete in the upper tier of the conference, are lined up for Mattoon this week.
Taylorville already owns a win over Mattoon having played the team in tournament play. Mount Zion owns a 5-3 record, owning conference wins over Effingham and Charleston.
“This week is a big week for us,” said Quick. “Mt. Zion and Taylorville are always solid competition. We had the pleasure of playing Taylorville during our home tournament on September 4th. Although we didn’t come out on top of that match, my girls are eager to get back onto the court with Taylorville for round two. For us, the key to coming out on top this week will be our mental game, blocking, and defense. We’ve worked hard all season long at reading what’s going on across the net and anticipating movements. With great teams like Mt. Zion and Taylorville, these skills are crucial. For these girls, however, I think the most important element of the game is going to be adopting that “I will not let that ball drop” mentality. They did it against Lincoln, and they can do it again.”
Apollo Conference Standings
- Mahomet-Seymour 3-0
- Taylorville 2-0
- Mount Zion, Mattoon 2-1
- Effingham, Effingham, Charleston 0-2