Despite some setbacks this season, Senior Saniya Spalding remains optimistic that her team can perform well in sectionals.
In last week’s volleyball game against Michigan City, Spalding had 12 kills, 4 aces, and 1 block.
During Spaldings’ four years of high school, she has encountered multiple coaching changes. For some athletes this can affect them mentally and some may even have a hard time adjusting, but for Spalding, that is not the case.
“It’s definitely brought something new, I feel like she has a lot of good ideas and a better volleyball IQ, which really helps us in the game, especially in practice,” Spalding said, referring to the new head coach, Alexis Blake.
The Merrillville volleyball team has been struggling to take down their opponents and keep their head up. Spalding believes that if they continue to persevere, their scores and confidence could be better than what it is. Their record, as of now, stands at 9-17.
“I personally feel like we can be better,” Spalding said. “Just like game-wise, our record isn’t where we wan’t it to be. I feel like we sometimes just need to finish the game, push through, and fight.”
The team itself is looking forward to a big accomplishment with Sectionals coming up. While the whole team is working hard to prepare, Spalding is trying to improve on things she can better on.
“Personally I can improve on my skills, such as blocking, and being faster with my movements … Building my IQ, and being smarter with the game,” Spalding said.
Spalding plans on continuing her volleyball career in college, receiving offers from both Ursuline College in Ohio, and Edward Waters University in Florida.
With the Merrillville volleyball team falling short in Sectionals the past few years, Spalding believes this year might just be the year as long as they put their minds to it.
“I’m looking forward to winning, of course, but our mindsets need to improve,” Spalding said. “We have a lot of good players with a lot of potential, but I feel like our energy needs to stay up and not get down when we make a mistake.
“Volleyball is more mental than it is physical, which is like that for any other sport. You can be great physically but if you’re not there mentally then it doesn’t matter,” Spalding said.
While playing a team sport you have to be better as a team as well as going into the game knowing your role, and knowing what you need to work on in order for you and your team to be successful.
“Going into Sectionals, I want to work a lot more on my defense passing wise,” Spalding said. “My blocking as well, depending on who we play, I want to work on that. I also wasn’t too worked on tips and being able to see the whole floor.”
Being able to play with people you enjoy being around every day is a great feeling, but knowing that this is the last year you’ll be able to perform with these people by your side can bring on different emotions.
“It’s sad, it’s crazy, I feel like I just got here.” Spalding said. “Obviously, I am happy to have played with the people I have played with but I am excited and sad at the same time. I am moving on into a new chapter in my life, but it’s just you have been with these people for so long and now it’s over.”
The regular season concludes Thursday night with a home game against Chesterton, while Sectionals start at 7 p.m. Tuesday against Portage at Hobart High School.