If Mansfield Timberview is to make the playoffs in volleyball for the first time since 2013, senior Kailyn “KJ” Williams will have a lot say about it.
Lady Wolves coach Beth Wills hopes — and thinks — Williams is ready to shoulder the load for this club.
“She’s never had it where she’s the point-getter, the one that all the pressure is on. She saw a little bit of that this past season, but it’s never been ‘I’m the go-to player.’ This year she is going to be the go-to player,” Wills said.
So does Williams think she’s ready to be the go-to player for the Wolves?
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“I feel like it’s a challenge,” she said. “It’s going to be different and new. I kind of like having someone to look up to me.”
“She’s one of those dynamic players,” Wills siad. “She was very inconsistent coming into high school, but she’s just one of those players who has really developed in a player that’s really fun to watch. She can change the course of a ball game. She has a tremendous amount of talent.”
That’s always the highlight of my year, to start the season. Two-a-days and back-to-back practices, tournaments, it’s all so exciting.
Timberview senior Kailyn Williams
The second-team all-district outside hitter is back for her third varsity campaign, but gearing up for the 2017 season, she has something other than the playoffs as her first priority.
“I wouldn’t say that’s the first goal,” she said. “I would say the first goal for the team is to make the bond strong on and off the court. To make sure we’re good at communicating; to make sure we’re a big family. Once we do that, then we can worry about playoffs.”
It doesn’t take a long conversation with Williams to understand how important the team is to her. So much, that she’s actually looking forward to what many girls dread — the Aug. 1 start of two-a-days.
“That’s always the highlight of my year, to start the season,” she explained. “Two-a-days and back-to-back practices, tournaments, it’s all so exciting. And I feel like that’s when we get closest. I think that’s when our bonds start forming.”
As you’d expect, Williams has grown a lot since her freshman year. Now as a senior leader, she understands her different roles.
“My freshman year I was so nervous, I didn’t want to speak. Upperclassmen scared me,” she said. “Once I got into my sophomore season — I’ve always been a vocal player — so that’s where I was always leading at. Now, I see that I have to be more of a physical and verbal leader consistently.”