For The Tribune

Medora’s Avery Carney has spent more hours in gymnasiums playing volleyball than she can count.

“I actually started playing when I was five,” Carney said. “I didn’t start playing on a team; I just went to practices and played along.”

A major reason she began playing this sport at a young age is because of her mother, Sara Todd, who coached at the middle school.

More recently, Todd is the Hornets’ varsity coach.

“It can be hectic at times,” Carney said of playing for her mother. “She gets on me a lot, but I think she is equal on getting on all the girls.”

Avery’s sister, Alli, also starts for the varsity.

“We fight sometimes,” Avery said. “I yell at her probably more than I should.”

Carney began playing on a team in fifth grade and has been a setter throughout her career. She recalls playing all-around her first year in high school.

“I played back row my freshman year because we ran a 4-2, so we had another setter,” she said. “I was in the back row and I passed some. Now we play a 6-1 and I don’t play back row at all.”

Carney’s rotation comes up in the back row someone else takes her place.

“You definitely have to be ready for every play,” Carney said. “I think I’ve learned a little bit to try and see stuff before it happens. If I see their hands up I’m going to scoot up to make the set, or if I see one hand going up it usually means hit so it just depends.”

In matches, Carney said she concentrates on what her teammates during, and not the opponents, during warmups.

“I try not to look at them until we start playing,” Carney said. “It kind of psyches me out. I try to work on sets with my teammates, and I work on blocking and a little passing.”

Yelling back and forth to teammates is a big part of volleyball, according to Carney.

“Communication is basically the key thing in volleyball, besides being physical,” Carney said. “We all have to talk to each other so we know what we’re doing. We can’t just say ‘lets go,’ we have to say ‘outside, in middle, things like that. We have to talk the whole time and let everybody know what’s going on.”

As the setter, Carney keeps track of where the opponents’ blockers are positioned.

“If the blocker is in the center I try to set it more to the right or more to the left,” she said.

This season, Carney said her serving has improved.

“I think you have more control if you have an open palm because if you use a fist it can hit your knuckles and go left or right,” she said.

With the season winding down, Carney thinks that everybody is going to have to work together for the Hornets to finish strong.

“It is going to take teamwork, attitude, mental,” Carney said. “We’ve just got to be ready for every game.”

At a glance

Parents: Sara Todd, Todd Carney

Siblings: Alli, Jacob

Sports: Volleyball, four years; basketball, one year; track manager, one year

Athletic awards: Serving award twice, setting award twice

Organizations: Beta Club, Letter “M” Club, Science Club, Spanish Club vice president junior year and president sophomore year

Plans after high school: Attend college, study to be a vet tech

Favorite food: Crab legs with butter

Favorite TV show: “American Horror Story”

Favorite musician: Meghan Trainor

Favorite team: Oakland Raiders


Q: Why is it important to win the first set in volleyball matches?

A: “Winning the first set usually gets us on the road to winning the next set, so it’s a big part of the match. Momentum is important.”

Q: Do you prefer home or away games?

A: “I like the away games better because I feel like at the home games, everyone is here watching and it puts more pressure on the team. I like flat (away) gyms better than sunken gyms.”

Q: Is Medora High School a good fit for you?

A: “I like it here. I don’t think I would be very good at a big school. I think I excel more at a small school.”