Junior standout leads team in district

Briana Castanon
Senior Banner Rodgers prepares for the incoming serve. As the libero, Rodgers gets a lot of playing time for the Lady Hawks.

Briana Castanon, Staff Writer

The Lady Hawks varsity volleyball has a record of 4-1 for the first round of district and is shooting for the state tournament. According to Head Coach Karin Keeney, junior outside hitter Brookah Palmer is one of the many hard working ladies on the team, having been on varsity since her freshman year.

Palmer’s recent achievement was making the all-tournament team in the Pearland and Allen tournaments, being the only one this year to make both teams.

“I thought I played pretty well,” Palmer said. “I think at some points it’s easier but it’ll always be a challenge, I was a little surprised because our team was in the bronze bracket and I thought only teams in the gold bracket could get the award. It definitely gave me more confidence.”

Volleyball isn’t something Palmer has done for a long time. The first time Palmer began volleyball was the summer before seventh grade, having only ever played soccer and softball.

“I was really nervous when tryouts came up because I felt like I didn’t know as much as everyone else because I had started so late,” Palmer said. “I wanted to be in the athletic program and I needed to play more than one sport so I thought I’d try volleyball and fell in love with the sport.”

Volleyball became a priority in Palmer’s life entering freshman year because of the commitment and competition that is associated with high school volleyball.

“My first impression was that Brookah was going to be an athlete, because she was serious and she worked hard both on and off the court,” Keeney said. “Getting her to talk was another story.  In short, I saw potential in her as a volleyball player.”

Palmer leads the team with over 445 kills which, according to Palmer, she would not be able to do as well if it were not for the coaches work intensity.

“I’m definitely thankful our coaches push us hard because I probably wouldn’t be able to do both school and club if I wasn’t in shape,” Palmer said. “It’s definitely a stress reliever and a place where I can compete.”

According to Coach Jennifer Bishop, the seniors have helped Palmer throughout the years in her development as a player and a leader.

“We are doing really well this year, beating some of the top teams in the area and state, thanks to the leadership of some of the key seniors,” Bishop said. “I believe this team will end up being very successful in district play and that success will help them go far in the playoffs.”

According to Keeney, many strong players graduated last year but, she expects great things this year and the next with the players coming ahead.

“Brookah contributes in several ways, first as an explosive and powerful outside hitter and she is getting the repetitions in the back row in serve receive and defense,” Keeney said. “This is valuable, if I can leave her in the back row we can use her to swing out the back giving us another offensive weapon.”

Even though Palmer has been a long lasting contribution to team, there are five other girls on the court at the same time who all need each other to beat the play.

“I feel like this team has the potential to take the state title,” senior right-side hitter Alexia Jacobson said. “It’s just going to take everyone to put in everything they’ve got.”

With the loss of some big hitters last year and main members from the state team before that, the statistics did not look good for the team this year.

“We’ve surpassed a lot of people’s expectations because nobody thought we were going to be a great team this year,” junior right-side hitter Erin Shultz said. “We are beating a lot of good teams that nobody thought we were going to beat, so I think we could make a good run in playoffs this year.”

Next year Brookah will be the only member of the team that has been on varsity since her freshman year.

“I think she’s always been a leader, she’s always had it in her, and next year as a senior she will definitely be the leader of the team,” Jacobson said. “She’s been on varsity the longest and knows what it takes to win.”

According to Keeney, volleyball has yet to finish their season but she is excited to see what these next two years will bring.

“I expect great things from Brookah this year and [the] next, colleges are starting to notice her ability recently and I expect that her exposure will increase greatly through her club season,” Keeney said. “I also expect her leadership to continue to grow and improve learning what to say to teammates and how to keep the team on the same page for a successful season.”