Volleyball team grapples with critics


The volleyball team defeated North Little Rock 3-0 in the first round of the state tournament at Heritage High School on Oct. 26.

The volleyball team’s motto this year is “Prove them wrong” as they grapple with critics after losing all but one seasoned varsity player. With a 8-3 record in conference and the state tournament less than a month away, they are defying expectations and taking another try at the 6A state title after last season’s loss to Fayetteville in the championship game.

“They think we’re not good,” senior libero Galatia Andrew said. “I think it’s just motivation to show them that we are good and prove to them that we’re actually better than people expect.”

Andrew also said that since the beginning of the season, the team’s mindset involving their skills has improved.

“Throughout the year, we have become more mentally tough,” Andrew said. “We also have gotten better at knowing that we are actually good and having the confidence to do good.”

To improve, the team has done a lot of conditioning with Coach Hall, the father of one of their teammates, junior Korylynn Hall, which not only got them in shape but also mentally tougher. 

“While you’re running, you feel like you want to give up, but you just keep going,” junior middle hitter Logan Lightburn said. “In games that definitely helps, especially when you’re down 24 to 15 or something.”

Certain teammates have also helped give the team the skills they need to improve by becoming leaders. As the only returner from last year’s state runner up team, Andrew has stepped into this role. 

“I have the most experience being on the court,” Andrew said. “I know how varsity’s pace is compared to JV’s pace.”

According to Lightburn, Andrew not only inspires the team on the court, but is an example for them off the court, showing them how to live the “Har-Ber Way.”

“She shows us what to do and what not to do,” Lightburn said. “She’s always lifting everyone up.”

Senior outside hitter Gracie Mobley has also become a leader to fill the holes the last senior class left.

“I lead the team on the court vocally as best as possible and off the court on the bench,” Mobley said. “Also I just try to do small little things on the side after practice or during the game.”

This season Mobley and Lightburn have switched positions, which is a change from last season, but something they both love. As an outside, Mobley had to learn more off blocker defense and covering. According to Mobley, the middle is the most difficult position because of the nonstop blocking on the net, but Lightburn feels more comfortable as a middle hitter than as an outside.

“You have the whole court to choose where you put the ball,” Lightburn said. “I can control the game better than I can on outside.”

No matter how the team does for the rest of the season, according to Mobley, the program has had a long-lasting impact on the senior class and will be dearly missed after the end of this season

“It’s just sad because I’m not planning on playing in college,” Mobley said. “I’m literally soaking up everything; win or lose, we’re still having so much fun.”