Lady Dragons OH gets rare time off

Posted Monday, Jul. 08, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Couple her high school volleyball season and club season, and it would seem Christen Sikora was playing one match per day for the last seven months.

As an outside hitter for Carroll and PAV 17 Black, Sikora has been running court to court from last August through June, playing about 140 competitive matches. The July “break” must come as a relief.

The 5-10 outside hitter helped Carroll advance to the Class 5A Region I tournament in Fort Worth last fall and then played a role in PAV 17 Black winning its version of the USA Volleyball national championship. They played in the national tournament last weekend at the Dallas County Convention Center.

But in July…

“Well, I get a couple of weeks off, but then I have a camp that I’m going to at Furman [in South Carolina] July 15-17,” Sikora said. “Then when I get home, I’m going to the open gym coach [Arthur] Stanfield has and then I will run and lift. I have to stay in shape when workouts start in August.”

The Furman part is that she gave a verbal commitment to the school earlier this spring after narrowing her finalists to Furman, Northeastern and Houston. The program is looking for her to be an outside hitter.

“I just felt the most comfortable there,” she said. “It’s a Southern school. It has some of the same community feel as Southlake. That’s what I wanted.”

But Sikora did have some other choices. Texas Tech and West Virginia out of the Big 12, Boise State from the Mountain West Conference and Wake Forest from the ACC thought she could be a fit at libero. But the idea of surrendering playing offense wasn’t enough for her to move in that direction.

College programs were partly attracted to Sikora because she knew how to win. The Lady Dragons and PAV 17 Black combined to go 125-9. She played an integral role on the teams, especially with her offensively.

Today’s volleyball is starting to go higher and higher above the net. It’s not uncommon for some club teams to feature a front line of nothing but 6-footers. Given that she’s surrendering some size, the soon-to-be three-year starter had to find a way to not yield.

“Offensively, you just have to hit a little higher and focus on where you can find a weak spot,” Sikora said. “We also worked on faster sets so the middle blocker won’t get there as fast and will react. Those are just things you have to do.”

As for her defense, she said her serve receive game took several important steps in that she has to keep her platform solid and that she can’t change direction too much. Plus, Sikora feels more comfortable with her ability to pass off of it.

Regardless, the pressure to perform at either level is pretty intense but in comes in different avenues. In high school, the players are representing their student body and the school district. In club, they are playing before college coaches who are recruiting.

As good as winning the national championship felt, she’d like to bring a state championship to Carroll.

“Some people thing because we a lost a lot of good players, we won’t be as good,” Sikora said. “But this team is really close. There’s not any drama. We have chemistry. I think we can go really far.”

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