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Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014

WRV trio among state's volleyball leaders

Posted Thursday, October 1, 2009, at 10:21 PM

The White River Valley Lady Wolverines may not be the most visible name in volleyball in the state of Indiana, but they certainly have made an impression.

Three girls -- freshman Sydney Kail, sophomore Jasmine May and senior Tayler Kail -- currently rank among the best the state has to offer statistically.

"It's a credit to them and how much they've worked," WRV coach Kristi Graves said. "We're hard on them and they work really hard."

All three girls have shown how well the hard work can payoff. Whether it's on the frontline blocking and killing or just checking the floor and passing out the wealth, all three have carved their niche and have made their team better -- something every athlete strives for as their career develops.

Tayler, who is currently sidelined with a knee injury, sits among the leaders in digs and hitting percentage. It's an injury that has been diagnosed, according to Kail, as a torn meniscus. Plus it's one that could likely keep her not only out of volleyball but basketball as well. But don't hold me to that one, a lot depends on how things shake out over the next few weeks.

"She's just a great athlete and I hope to have her back," Graves said. "If she doesn't get to comeback for whatever reason, that's (being among the leaders) a pretty nice thing to have happen."

The senior floor leader has 148 digs in 41 games for an average of 3.61 per game. She also sports a hitting percentage of .290 and averages 2.56 kills per game.

She has racked up 105 kills and committed only 23 errors in 283 total attacks.

The impression I got from speaking to her was that she's taking it all in stride -- both the good and the bad -- and has tried to keep everything in perspective.

"I think it's really cool," she said. "I don't think about stats a lot, but when you see your name in those categories it's kind of neat to see where you're at."

Kail, who will attend Butler University on a softball scholarship in the fall, appears to enjoy the defensive side of things the most.

"I take the most pride in my digs," she said with a grin. "We do a lot of digging drills, get a lot of balls hit at us off the stands and it's pretty tough. We do a lot of basic, fundamental things and it seems to help."

For May it's been a season where her setting and serving skills have come to the forefront. In 44 games she's racked up 31 aces (0.70 per game) and dished out 212 assists (4.82 per contest).

Those numbers truly seem to reflect how versatile she really is for her squad. And it's hard to believe, but those numbers could really get better in her final two seasons -- and wouldn't that be a boost for the Lady Wolverines as well.

Making what she's accomplished all that more amazing comes from how short of a time she's been running the offense.

This is her first year in the position as a setter. Admittedly, it's taken some hard work and dedication in the offseason to make the transition.

"We pulled her into that role because we didn't have a setter," Graves said. "She worked really hard this summer, went to several camps and works very hard in practice."

In earning a place among leaders in assists May is realistic. She realizes that volleyball is one of the ultimate team sports and that she certainly couldn't achieve that mark by herself.

"I couldn't be a leader in assists without my hitters," she said. "It's mainly them. No matter how good a setter I am, if they can't hit the ball I'm not going to get any assists."

Her thinking becomes even more analytical when she's serving up those aces. She said it goes beyond just a mechanical process and delves into a mental aspect.

"It's all about going back to the line and taking your time," she said. "I've got to think that I've got to hit it where they're not."

She takes it a step further when she admits that she tries to rise to the occasion from an adrenaline standpoint.

"I'll get really pumped up and intense," she admits. "Then I'm just like, it's going to happen. There are definitely times when I know I'm going to have a pretty good game."

Last but not least, the younger Kail has recorded 40 aces in 44 games, those numbers combined with her solid outside hitting at the net makes her one of the most dangerous up-and-comers to opposing teams in the area.

But her talent is only at a starting point according to Graves.

She says the young sparkplug has the potential to take her game well into the next level. And calls her a natural talent.

"I think she will probably play volleyball in college, she's got that kind of talent," Graves said. "If she gets playing in the offseason like I think she will, she'll always be a top player in the state."

Personally Kail believes she can build on the success she's already shown in her first year and can continue to advance her game.

"I really hope I can keep it up for all four years," she said. "I really enjoy the sport, I love it so much and I really spend my time on it because I like it a lot."

Rick Curl is a sports writer at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 20 or at rcurl@gcdailyworld.com.



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