For The Tribune
High school volleyball players like the game for different reasons.
For Trinity Lutheran’s Hayley Carter, it was about scoring points.
“I liked celebrating after we got points,” she said. “I liked jumping up-and-down, so it was fun.”
Carter had a lot of occasions to celebrate, as she helped the Cougars win 21 matches this fall and three sectional titles during her career at Trinity.
Carter said she feels like the volleyball program at Trinity should be strong for years to come.
“I think there are a bunch of younger girls coming in, including my sister (Elly). She’s in seventh grade,” she said. “They’ve all been working on the fundamentals, so by the time they get here, they’ll have the fundamentals down and will have to work on teamwork more, and I think they’ll be OK.”
The Cougars senior began her volleyball career in fifth grade at Immanuel Lutheran School.
She played four years of varsity at Trinity.
“Coming into it, I was scared as a freshman,” she said. “But I had good senior leadership, and that helped me to get better.”
Carter was a defensive specialist her freshman year and has played the libero position since then.
“I liked how I always got the first touch on the ball,” she said. “Your pass depended on how the rest of the play was going to go. Being in the back row, I had to communicate the most and tell the hitters where to hit and read the hitters, also.”
Carter said she preferred playing the left back position the best.
“I think the most important thing in getting a dig is getting your feet set,” she said. “If your feet weren’t there, you weren’t going to be able to get the pass up to the target. You had to get there before the ball did.”
In matches, Carter said teamwork was the key factor to score points.
“In volleyball, you usually have three hits or three touches on the ball before it goes over the net,” she said. “No one person can do all of it. So I think teamwork was the biggest aspect of it.
“Being back row, whenever our setter would set it to the middle or outside, you could usually tell where the holes were on their side, and then you would tell the hitter where to hit.”
Whenever the Cougars took the court, they tried to open the first set with intensity.
“The first set sets the momentum for the rest of the game,” Carter said. “But I would say you don’t have to have the first set. If you think you can win the match, you don’t have to have the first set, but it is easier if you do.”
This season, Carter was one of the Cougars’ captains.
“I feel it was a special responsibility because you didn’t want to mess up because everyone was following your lead, and I enjoyed having people look up to me,” she said.
Carter said her highlight in volleyball was helping the Cougars reach the Final Four her freshman year.
“My freshman year, we went to the Final Four, and that was pretty fun,” she said. “We won the first match (in the Loogootee Semistate) and then we lost to Loogootee.”
Parents: Tim and Anita Carter
Siblings: Zach and Elly
Sports: Volleyball, four years
Athletics honors: Final Four in 2012, three sectional titles, academic all-state, 2015 most valuable player, most improved award freshman year, team captain
Organizations: National Honor Society, Student Government, FFA, 10-year 4-H member
Plans after high school: Attend Purdue University and study business
Favorite food: No-bake cookies
Favorite TV show: “The Bachelor”
Favorite musician: Taylor Swift
Q: What’s your ideal schedule?
A: “I liked weekday matches. Weekends matches wore you out. By your last match, which was usually your most important, you were too tired to perform your best. In the Barr-Reeve tourney, we played four matches in a day.”
Q: Did you have a favorite type of match?
A: “The intense games were my favorites. We would go out there and play teams that weren’t that good, and that was OK, but when we would go out there and play Christian Academy and the bigger teams, it was a lot more fun.”
Q: Did you enjoy playing in the Bollinger Athletic Complex?
A: “We’ve always had a really good cheer block. I really liked the atmosphere because it was usually pretty loud and everyone got into it. It was a lot more exciting to play at home than away.”