Nale leads team with encouragement
For all four years of high school Hannah Nale, ’17, played on the varsity volleyball team. As a freshman she wanted to join tennis, but seeing there was no tennis team, she tried out for varsity volleyball.
One of the things that brings joy to Nale’s heart is the closeness of her teammates and the way they all work together as a team and not just individuals.
“I love the girls that I’m with and I love our coach that we have,” Nale said. “She’s totally fun and encouraging. Volleyball is super fun and I like to slam balls, get points and win!”
Now that she is one of the team captains on varsity, she takes on the big responsibility of becoming a leader for her fellow teammates. She strives to make playing the sport enjoyable by being positive for her teammates and encouraging them to better themselves.
One teammate, Juliette Davila, ‘17, plays outside hitter on the varsity team. Although she has not played in a game this season because of her transfer from Caruthers, she still noticed that Hannah encouraged others to be positive even when they are down.
“I love playing with Hannah in practice because she makes everyone around her happy,” Davila said. “She’s full of life and she makes you feel special whenever she talks to you. She is a great role model for me because of her energy and her commitment to everything she does, whether it’s in sports, academics, or her spiritual life.”
When Nale first joined volleyball as a freshman, she could not serve over the net. Now she jump serves and runs difficult plays with ease.
One of the things Nale noticed about her improvements in volleyball is that she does not give up on herself. She knows she can make herself better. If she plays a new position she is not familiar with, she figures out how to make it happen.
As Nale continued to play and grow stronger in many of her skills, one former teammate noticed she progressed in serving, hitting and passing the most. Assistant coach and FCS alumna Gabriela Siqueiros played on varsity Nale’s sophomore year, and still admires Nale’s perseverance in the sport.
“Hannah has grown more confident in herself and her abilities, including leadership,” Siqueiros said. “Hannah is a great leader because she does a good job of pumping up the team and telling people what they need to hear. She expects 100% from her teammates and will be the first one to tell them to pick it up.”
One of the ways Nale tries to become a leader for her team is by shining Christ’s light throughout the sport. She enjoys praying for the team and being positive and patient with them.
Ever since knowing Nale in the school’s program Sister to Sister, Megan LeBlanc, ‘20, loved how she expressed Christ throughout her life. Although LeBlanc plays on the junior varsity volleyball team, she loves that Nale always shows happiness and encourages her teammates with words of scripture.
“I think Hannah is good at encouraging everyone in volleyball, “Leblanc said. “She always shows kindness to everyone and always shows love through all that she does. She has influenced me just by me watching her play. I can see how much she cares about her team and the love she shows on the court.”
As Nale leaves high school, varsity volleyball coach Katie Reneau hopes Nale learned some valuable lessons this season. She hopes that she learned that volleyball is kind of like life.
“Sometimes things come easy, and sometimes you work as hard as you know you can, and still come up short,” Reneau said. “You can be as prepared as possible, but life might throw you all kinds of surprises. You’re not expected to go through it alone. You’ve got friends, family, and God to guide your path as you navigate your future.”
When Nale graduates high school, she does not think she will continue the sport in college. Although volleyball has helped her in her leadership skills and athletic abilities, she wishes to pursue event planning and commercializing and work at her family’s winery.
King inspires teammates by example
Ever since joining volleyball in junior high, and playing on the team in high school all four years, Jenny King, ’17, possessed a passion for the sport. She started out playing soccer, but after making the varsity team freshman year, she felt she acquired a knack for volleyball instead.
One of King’s favorite parts about participating in the sport is how it is constantly in motion. If she loses a point for her team, there is always another ball coming back at her so she can redeem herself.
As one of the outside hitters and the captain of the team, she finds it challenging to play the role. But she is always up for a challenge, and tries to improve by hitting harder and getting better passes. She also tries to inspire her teammates by becoming a role model for them.
“I definitely try to be an encourager to my teammates,” King said. “But I also push them to their best abilities so that they can be more successful themselves and in their own skills. I always try to say, ‘Hey you got the next one.’ It’s not like they’re going to get every perfect point but they’re doing their best.”
Her improvements have been noticed by her teammates, such as junior McKensy Neal. Although she only joined the school and volleyball this year, she agreed that Jenny improved on her passing and hitting throughout the season, and is still advancing in her volleyball skills.
“Jenny is an amazing role model for me because she is always so nice and positive,” Neal said. “My favorite part about playing with Jenny is that she is always has great critiques, and helps you improve. Jenny is a great player because she has a lot of talent and she has very good people skills, which helps with her teammates.”
One of the things Kaylie Clem, ‘19, loves about volleyball is how close her and her teammates are. She enjoys the fact that King draws the team together and displays her leadership in that way.
“Jenny is such a great role model because she is kind when I mess up and strong and very Christ-like,” Clem said. “My favorite part about playing with Jenny is the laughter she brings to the team and the great leadership skills she has. She has great ball control and is strong in all areas of the court.”
Not only can King control the ball, but she plays smart. Siqueiros admires how King puts the ball where the other players are not.
“Jenny is one of our best hitters and an incredible passer,” Siquieros said. “Jenny is very calm, cool, and collected, and leads by example. The team sees how hard she works and that just brings their level of play up.”
When Kings first started out playing on varsity, she was timid and shy, and could not serve over the net. Now she runs difficult plays and jump serves over the net. As a senior she is glad she’s in the swing of things.
Although King is one of the more experienced players Reneau hopes to teach her more memorable information. One of the things she hoped to teach King is to take risks.
“She is a planner and loves to know exactly what’s going on and what to expect,” Reneau said. “I hope she doesn’t shy away from the unknown. Although that is a scary thought, there are often great rewards.”
As much as she loves the sport, she does not see herself pursuing volleyball in college. Her interests after high school involve health professions or nursing.
Watch King and Nale play in their next volleyball game at FC against Parlier High School, Oct. 11.
For another sports article read, FC football sport short: Trinity.
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