Whale Branch's volleyball team has the ambitious goal of reaching the Class A state playoffs in its inaugural season. To accomplish that, the Warriors must overcome their lack of senior leadership. Two Whale Branch players participated at the varsity level last season for Battery Creek.
One of them was junior outside hitter Deborah Fields.
While teammates Vanessa Scott and Jamie Whalen keep opponents off-balance with their different serving styles, Fields dominates the net, leading the Warriors to a 11-3 start.
Whale Branch coach Kim Nicholson said when she's on, the Warriors must get her the ball.
The Beaufort Gazette/Island Packet caught up with Fields after a recent match to talk about the Warriors' season, her goals and her thoughts on Nicholson.
Question: Pretty good start to the season for Whale Branch volleyball. What do you think about the way your team have played so far?
Answer: I think we've played very excellent. Even though we've had mistakes, we've played well.
Q: What kind of things have you been working on?
A: We've been working on hitting, passing -- mainly our passing -- tips, digs. Everything.
Q: Did you all come over from Battery Creek?
A: Yes. All of us, besides one of our teammates. Maddi (Madison Campbell) is from Washington, D.C.
Q: So you all pretty much knew each other before the season. How does that help?
A: We all know our weakest points. We all know our strongest points. Since we've been playing together for so long, we're all just connected.
Q: What's been your role?
A: My role is to be there hitting, keeping my eye on the ball when the setter is setting to me.
Q: How long have you played volleyball?
A: Four years.
Q: How did you get started?
A: I wanted to do some outside activity instead of going home because it was boring. That's how it started.
Q: What do you think is going to be the key for the rest of the season? I guess it's still kind of early.
A: The key for us to make it this season is just don't make any more simple mistakes. That's our key. No more simple mistakes.
Q: How did your team feel after that strong start?
A: It was exciting but (we knew) just one little thing could just bring us down.
Q: Being a first-year team, what are the team's expectations?
A: Our expectation is to make it to state, make history, all of that. All of the above.
Q: How does your team like Coach Nicholson?
A: Whoa. We love her. She's a really good coach. You've got to be prepared for her. She comes at you hard. She has great expectations for us and tries to make us better. That's what she's doing, making us better for the bigger world if we do play for a college.
Q: And how do you like the new school?
A: I love the new school. I adapted to it quickly.
Q: So what are your goals for yourself? Do you want to keep playing volleyball?
A: See, I'm still iffy about that, if I still want to play sports or just ... I don't know. But I'm really considering playing volleyball after (high school).
Q: What are you into outside of volleyball?
A: Hanging out. That's pretty much it.