“In seventh grade, I wasn’t really good, of course, but in ninth grade I realized it,” West said about her strong spike. “It was mechanics, probably.”
Spectators and players notice the outside hitter’s strong spikes alike, but one even gave an opposing player a concussion earlier this season.
Although West is dominating on the court as a fifth-year starter, her volleyball career only started six years ago.
“My brother’s girlfriend played and I got to see her play a lot and I just like sports,” she explained. “When I got out there what really interested me was hitting. I really, really like to hit.”
Unlike softball, which West played throughout her childhood, including on travel teams, volleyball only started in seventh grade. However, after one year on the middle school team, West became a varsity letterman.
“It was really a big deal because I grew up playing around the older players and I was just kind of new to it,” she said.
Taking a break after coaching West in seventh grade, Saks first-year coach Randy Law is back holding the clipboard and sees the journey the senior has made as a player.
“She’s come a long way,” Law said. “She was always tall and lanky and then when I had her in the seventh grade, her coordination wasn’t anywhere near where it is today. That’s the big thing, and I think her body has filled out and coordination has caught up to her.”
Despite the success the 2011 3A county player of the year has had on the court, West’s final chance to win a state championship will begin today.
“It’s exciting,” she said. “It’s a lot of pressure, but I like pressure, so that’s fine with me. But I really want to win with this being my last year.”
Saks will host its area tournament tonight with its first match against Weaver at 5 p.m. The winner will play either White Plains or Piedmont at 6:30 for the championship. The top-two finishers advance to next week’s super regional in Huntsville.
Sports Writer Brandon Miller: 256-235-3575. On Twitter @bmiller_star.