Stepping up: Braves captain enjoys new role

For The Tribune

On the volleyball court, Richayla Huff commanded Brownstown Central’s offense.

“I’m a setter, so I really enjoyed that part of the game because I ran the whole offense,” Huff said. “Running the offense gives me control of the game, and then I can really apply the mental aspect of the game to not only myself but to my teammates and really be the leader on the court.”

This was her third season being a team captain.

Huff said it took her the past two years to get into that leadership role because when she was a sophomore she looked up to the seniors.

In matches, Huff believes communication and teamwork are the keys to executing a successful offense.

“Communication is one of the most important things,” Huff said. “If someone is not communicating then we may have mistakes on who is going to take that ball, and it may drop which is the worst possible thing that can happen.”

A tight-knit group, the Braves always looked to get each other pumped up.

“A lot of times, we like to tell each other, ‘Play for the person next to you,’ because you want to make the person before you look better,” Huff said. “So as a passer, you want to get a good pass for your setter so she is able to do her job to the best of her ability and she is able to get a good set to her hitter.”

Huff said she believes solid passing translates to better hits.

“It starts with the passer, and no one job is more important than the other,” Huff said. “They’re all so important on getting that point and getting that kill. A lot of times, the hitters get the recognition, but the passers and setter are also doing the same amount of work, and they’re really working to make that hitter’s job easiest.”

In 2016, the Braves always made it a point to battle until the final score.

“One thing I really enjoyed about playing for this team this season is there have been a few games where we lost the first two and we came back in the third set,” Huff said. “That shows a lot of determination about our team. Where most teams would just lay down and quit playing, we’ve been able to win the set and go on.”

Huff, who began playing in the fourth grade, played club ball outside of the fall season.

“When you’re in season during school ball, you really don’t have enough time to work on the fundamentals and the actual skills,” Huff said. “You only really work on the game aspects. So when you’re playing club ball, you have extended periods of time where you just work on individual parts of your game. Then you can apply them to the team aspects whenever you’re in school.”

One of Huff’s favorite facets of playing volleyball was the home crowd.

“Our community and their enthusiasm toward the volleyball program is so supporting to us, especially to the seniors,” Huff said. “ Senior night was just a great atmosphere to play in. We had our whole student section up and cheering for us, and all the parents and community out here supporting us. It’s just a great environment to play in.”

At a glance

Name: Richayla Huff

School: Brownstown Central High School

Parents: Melissa Huff, the late Richard Huff

Siblings: Maria, Olivia

Sport: Volleyball, four years

Athletic highlights: Mid-Southern Conference champions 2014, All-MSC honorable mention 2015, assists award three years

Organizations: National Honor Society, FFA, Booster Club, Letterman’s Club, 4-H, Student Council, Student Government

Plans after high school: Attend Purdue University and major in ag business

Favorite food: Lasagna

Favorite TV show: “Stranger Things”

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