Yesterday evening, The Habersham School Varsity volleyball team played Effingham County High School and Richmond Hill High School in a three way competition Thursday evening at Richmond Hill High School. The Lady Patriots defeated Effingham County High School 2 sets to 0 by scores of 25-17 and 25-23, and Richmond Hill High School 2 sets to 1 by scores of 25-15, 11-25, 25-15. Today, I had the pleasure of speaking with this team about what sets them apart from the competition.
“Tell me, what was your favorite part of last night’s game?” I ask The Habersham School’s Lady Patriots. They are gathered in a classroom after last night’s victories over Effingham County High School and Richmond Hill High School. I am given several different anecdotes, crammed full of volleyball-speak. “I love when Ellie blocks people.” Lakelyn Ward began. “And Emma got her first kill!” added Allie Waller. “Someone shanked it, and I dove on the ground and passed it to Abbey, and they thought it was going to be out, but it went over the net and stayed in!” Ashlyn Burnsed recounted.
As a non-athlete, I struggle to follow the action parts of this story, but I easily find the central thread that connects each one—teamwork. Not one of these girls told me an “I” story. In fact, most of the stories I heard were of moments the narrator had little involvement in. Each girl demonstrated a genuine joy in the success of her teammates, and this is what sets the Lady Patriots apart.
“I think what sets us apart from other teams is that we don’t have a bad attitude—we don’t roll our eyes. If something goes wrong you don’t see it in our body language, we just look at each other and say ‘pick it up!’” Lakelyn explained to me. While playing Richmond Hill, the Lady Patriots got stuck in “serve–receive.” “That’s when the other team is serving, and we are trying to get the point,” explained Ellie Childress. But they came back in the next set. “We never got so frustrated or down that we stopped playing. We were always positive that we were going to get the next point.” said Sarah Delk.
The Lady Patriots believe their positive attitudes come from two sources: their individual friendships, and their Coach. “We have relationships other teams don’t have. We hang out with each other outside of school, because we’re all actually friends.” says Allie Waller. Before the first match began, Coach Barry pulled the team aside: “Seniors, lead your team” was her final instruction. And they did, as the final scores showed.
–Millie Childress Hoover