Net gain: Friends

Playing volleyball at Brownstown Central, Maddy Pace knew she always had support from the community.

“I enjoyed the atmosphere because the gym was always packed, and it’s just a good community to play at,” she said. “I enjoyed the team because we were all so close. There were seven seniors, and we’re all friends.

“Senior night was kind of emotional because I have grown to like these girls and the team.”

Pace said a big part of volleyball is being mentally ready when the first serve is made.

“I think the mental part is the most important part, because if you think you can do it you probably can,” she said. “You don’t have to be that physical. You just have to know that you can do it. If you’re confident you’ll probably do better.”

Pace, who played volleyball her freshman year at Seymour, was a back-row player for the Braves for three years.

“My sophomore year I played right-back, and my junior and senior year I played left-back,” Pace said. “I feel you get more balls from left-back because their outside is hitting, and they always have an outside hitter, but they don’t always have a right-side hitter. I liked receiving balls.

“You’ve got to get to your spot. You’re supposed to get it to the setter where her spot is. As a back-row player, you’re supposed to go behind the hitter and tell her if they have a hole in the block or if there is a spot open and let them know.”

On the court, Pace said she thinks teamwork results in wins.

“Teamwork is everything,” she said. “If one person is not doing their job, then everything else just falls apart.

“Winning the first set is important because you’ll have the momentum going into the second set, and you’ll be more confident. You’ll have a greater chance of winning just because of the momentum you gained in winning the first set.”

Pace said she prepared differently for 2-out-of-3 set matches than 3-out-of-5.

“I kind of had to prepare myself more for 3-out-of-5 just in case it went to 5, because it takes a lot of endurance and mental strength,” she said.”It’s just draining after so many sets.

“I preferred night matches because everyone would show up to them, and we would get a bigger crowd because on Saturday people are usually busy. I like playing at night better.”

In the offseason, Pace played for a club volleyball team.

“I played club volleyball since fifth or sixth grade,” she said. “It improves your skills because you are doing something in the offseason and a lot of people aren’t.”

“This past year I played at South Indy, and that was my favorite. I met lots of new girls. The clubs closer to here I knew them, so I got a different experience up there. I played left back.”

The senior admires her former coach at Brownstown, Jennifer Shade, and has picked up different skills from all her coaches.

“Jennifer has done the same thing for a long time, so when I went to different clubs I learned different defenses and those are defenses we play now against other schools, and I learned different aspects of the game.”

At a glance

Parents: Greg and Andrea Pace

Siblings: Claire, Sam

Sports: Volleyball, four years; track and field, four years

Athletics honors: 2013: semistate finals, 2014: Mid-Southern Conference champs; selected for junior all-star tryouts.

Organizations: National Honor Society, Booster Club, Letterman’s Club

Plans after high school: Attend University of Indianapolis, study physical therapy

Favorite food: Chicken, cheese and rice

Favorite TV shows: “South Park, Criminal Minds”

Favorite musician: J. Cole

Favorite team: Cincinnati Reds


Q: What’s your volleyball schedule like?

A: “Our conference isn’t that good, and we played weaker teams then. If we play a weak team and get a win, it’s a big deal to get a win, but not as big a deal as if you play harder teams and keep up with them. If you lose, it’s still a good game.”

“(The Brownstown Invitational) was probably my favorite tournament because we did well in that.”

Q: Do you have any moments on the court that stick out over your career?

A: “We went to Final Four my sophomore year (at Edgewood). We didn’t win conference my sophomore year. We lost to Silver Creek, but we played them in sectional and beat them.”

Q: What’s it like attending Brownstown Central?

A: “I love it. We’re all close and you get more one-on-one time. It’s small and you’re comfortable here.”

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