OVER THE NET

Whenever she took the court with her teammates, Laura Pence always came out with energy.

“It’s very important to win the first set,” Pence said. “You gain a lot of momentum whenever you win the first set.”

Pence began her volleyball in fourth grade at St. John’s Sauers. When she entered Brownstown Central, she played middle hitter on the freshman team and middle hitter on JV her sophomore year and varsity the past two seasons.

Pence, who was the Braves’ starting middle hitter this fall, said ball placement is a key when you are attacking.

“Whenever you went up to hit, you have to hit around the block,” she said. “You always have to know where the block is and what spots are open on defense on the other side of the court.

“If there is a double block, sometimes you have to tip. I liked to hit on an angle. Usually, that’s where the most shots were open, instead of hitting right down the middle of the court where the blocks and the defense was.”

She said communication is key between the back row, setter and the front row.

“In volleyball, you have to communicate,” Pence said. “If you’re out there on the court quiet, then no one getting excited, and there’s no momentum on your side, and momentum is the whole game.

“You have to have a lot of momentum to win games. Communication is very important. Our setter, Richayla Huff, would always tell us what plays to run, and they usually worked.”

The senior has always encouraged girls to get started playing volleyball, or any sport, at a young age.

Outside of the high school season, Pence played club ball in Seymour.

“(Club) helped a lot,” she said. “I improved a lot over those two years that I played.”

Conference and weekday matches are the best 3 out of 5, while Saturday tournament matches are typically 2 out of 3. Pence said that the tournaments are tough, since there’s such a sense of urgency.

“In 2 out of 3, you don’t get as many chances to mess up, so you’ve got to win the first set,” Pence said.

“In the best of five, you could lose the first two and win the match, but it would be harder to do. I liked the night matches better.

“Our schedule really prepared us for the sectional,” Pence said. “Our tournament (in Brownstown) was probably my favorite tournament, too. We did do really well in that.”

Q&A

Q: What was it like playing at home?

A: “I loved it. It was a great atmosphere. We have a great community. It was really a fun time whether we won or lost.”

Q: Where was your favorite away court?

A: “I like Columbus East. I liked the away matches. They were so much fun. I like all the girls.”

Q: What is your career highlight?

A: “My sophomore year when we beat Seymour. That was a really good feeling to beat them.”

Author photo
Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.