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Taking the reins

Junior varsity, and the future of FHC boys volleyball

Sophomore+outside+hitter+Noah+Jami+sends+the+ball+over+for+a+successful+kill.+He%2C+along+with+the+other+forward+hitters%2C+form+a+strong+offense+for+the+JV+team.
Sophomore outside hitter Noah Jami sends the ball over for a successful kill. He, along with the other forward hitters, form a strong offense for the JV team.

Sophomore outside hitter Noah Jami sends the ball over for a successful kill. He, along with the other forward hitters, form a strong offense for the JV team.

Tyler Summers

Tyler Summers

Sophomore outside hitter Noah Jami sends the ball over for a successful kill. He, along with the other forward hitters, form a strong offense for the JV team.

Garrett Allen, Staff Reporter

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While varsity prepares for their final state run together, the junior varsity boys volleyball team is merely getting started. Following their undefeated matches and championship title at GACs last Friday and Saturday, the JV team is preparing for their transition into varsity status next year, and prepared they will be, as of the 32 matches they’ve played, 29 have been wins.

Contributing largely to their sweep of GACs was sophomore outside hitter Austin Smith, who has since become a standing member of varsity (albeit not one of the starting lineup).

“Our passing was good, and we had good sets. We were able to put [the ball] down, and our serves were all in – a major key to volleyball,” Smith said. “We play well as a team together [and] as an overall unit. We’ve had some ups and downs, but I’d say overall [we’ve played] pretty well.”

Working alongside Smith through their time together, fellow (outside) hitter sophomore Bobby Hubbard likens the often-tight wins the team has seen as nothing but their established standard – one they proudly adhere to.

“We just play how we normally play,” Hubbard said. “And our effort plays a large deal into how good we could possibly become.”

Comparatively, FHC’s junior varsity team is one of the best across the state, able to fell teams even the current varsity could not, SLU High and Lafayette among them. The reasons, Hubbard thinks, are older than the current season itself.

“The reason we’re so good is because it started from below at the freshman level – not knowing how to play – and then getting the right coaching,” he said.

Adding to this is two other major components: cohesiveness, and handling pressure under odds. Perhaps none are more familiar with these necessities than sophomore libero Brody Murray, the foundation of many returning plays on the court.

I think it’s about just playing and having fun. When we play, we just have fun with each other, and we find ways to win,” Murray said. “Pressure really just doesn’t faze us.”

“We’re playing club volleyball with each other; we’re just trying to play volleyball as much as possible, whether it’s sand or on the court, or just messing around – trying to touch the ball as much as we can,” he added. “We have a great program.”

Yet, though sophomores now, Murray, Smith, and Hubbard all have eyes on future state runs together as FHC’s new varsity team, and hope to live up to the standards of top-level play across Missouri.

“I look forward to it; it’ll be a new challenge. I look forward to getting better and playing with them [as varsity],” Smith said. “The varsity team is really good right now, but we have good coaching, so I think we’ll be able to take up that mantle.”

“If we play to our best, I think nobody can beat us.”

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Taking the reins