The Owensboro Lady Devils volleyball squad has three seniors on its 2020 roster, but their journey started way back in middle school. Now, they’ve led OHS to a 5-0 start for the first time since 2013.
OHS coach Melissa Hibbs said the success of this season has been in the works for years.
“This senior class, one of my seniors started playing in 7th grade, the other two started playing in 8th grade,” she said. “They’ve been in the program 5-6 years now. When they were freshmen, we sat down and said by senior year, we were going to develop this team because we knew that we were so young and we were going to develop it around them. They’ve taken the reins and everyone has followed suit. The underclassmen are stepping up.”
Lainey Hayden (48 kills, 20 blocks, 65 digs, 25 aces), Jersie Rhineburger (19 kills, 12 assists, 49 digs, 15 aces) and Krystell Pappas (37 kills, 57 assists, 23 aces) are those leaders for Hibbs this season.
Pappas said every loss in recent years has led to their successful start.
“The goal was to just really use everybody that we have,” she said. “We knew that this year was going to be a good one for us. It’s still a young team but they have played up for varsity so just really needed to make sure we use everyone and just work hard. We knew the district was going to be pretty steady with everyone, everyone’s going to be about the same. We just have to have that grit. We have not stopped, we’ve gone for every ball.”
Despite the want for the district title, Pappas said they can’t get ahead of themselves.
While they’ve been on a roll to start the season, Pappas said they have to focus on the task at hand.
“We have been saying one game at a time, one point at a time, one everything at a time,” she said. “We can’t get into it like ‘Oh, we’re going to win just because we’re up right now.’ We have to take every game … We’re focusing on those district games but every game at a time, one at a time.”
In each of their district wins this season, the Lady Devils rallied after dropping a set.
Pappas said while it’s not idea to drop a set, knowing they can rebound is a big plus as the season goes on.
“We for some reason have this thing where we get down and then it clicks,” she said. “We have to go now. I think it’s our will this year that we know we have so much potential that it’s like ‘Let’s go. We have to go right now.’ If we don’t, we’re done for. I think it’s just knowing that we shouldn’t get down first and have to go but it’s just something that clicks in us … Now or never.”