Volleyball players lead by example

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Volleyball players lead by example

Elias C. Ahumada

Elias C. Ahumada

Elias C. Ahumada

Kourtney Grantz, left, and Tyler Herring warm up during a practice.

Daniel Ojeda, Sports Editor

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The Bakersfield College volleyball team was looking to build on the success that the team enjoyed during the 2013 season, which included making it to the SoCal Regionals.

But an influx of incoming freshmen and a slow start to the season derailed any chances the team had for a repeat playoff bid.

Despite a less than ideal season, the volleyball team has had its share of standout players that have kept the team pushing forward and have helped teach the younger players what it means to play with a team-first attitude.

These standout players are sophomores Tyler Herring and Kourtney Grantz, teammates and friends who have been through it all together. Both attended and played volleyball at Liberty High School together and were part of the freshman class for the volleyball team last season.

As returning sophomores, head coach Carl Ferreira looked to both of these teammates as players that could be relied on for advice for the freshmen or to provide leadership during a game.

A compliment like that from a coach as highly regarded as Ferreira is something that these players do not take lightly.

“It’s an honor for the coach to see us as leaders. It’s an opportunity to grow and impact the people around you,” said Grantz.

While Herring said, “It was stressful at the beginning, but when you’re given that title you got to take responsibility of it.”

The leadership role that Grantz and Herring earned means that they can no longer mesh into the background or just stand on the sidelines. Now they have to step up and be consistent in all aspects of their game, whether it’s on the court or off.

“We have to be better than we were last year, we have to carry a bigger load this season and set the standard,” said Herring.

With the guidance that Ferreira has provided this season, he has shown both players how to consistently perform well while preparing for the mental rigors of the long volleyball season.

That guidance has helped Grantz total a team-high 306 kills while also leading the team in points scored for the season. Herring is second on the team with 261 kills as well as second on the team with 336 points scored for the season.

Those individual accolades are something that Grantz and Herring would happily trade if it meant a higher win percentage for the team.

“We don’t focus on individual success. I would definitely sacrifice individual stats to get a win any day,” said Grantz.

Her fellow Renegade agrees as Herring states, “You want your whole team to do good. At the end of the day you’re not going to win the match by yourself. It’s your team that’s going to help you get that win.”

This type of team attitude is something that can be tough on incoming freshman but once those bad habits are broken, players can start buying into it by helping each other and then that’ll become second nature.

The results of team play will eventually begin to show as the Renegades have managed to split their last 10 games winning five while also dropping five games. But those results are far better than the 4-10 record that BC started off with.

Being a leader on the volleyball court has also had its benefits for Herring.

“I’ve definitely matured and respect my teammates on a completely different level,” she said. “I play for the person next to me and we don’t play as individuals. You can see that on and off the court.”

Grantz and Herring are both unsure of what their next step is after BC but both know one thing, as long as they are able to play volleyball, then everything will be all right.

While a fitting end to their Renegade careers would be having a chance to make the playoffs, this season they won’t get to, but both Renegade players want to help out this season as much as they can so that the returning volleyball players can benefit from the knowledge that they can pass on.

“I want to be remembered as a real team player that was relentless on the court,” said Herring about the legacy she is leaving behind.

While Grantz wants to be remembered for “Being a leader who loved her teammates and was an uplifting person.”

 

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