‘Every game matters’: Good Hope’s Addie Stripling ready for senior season

Good Hope's Addie Stripling. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

GOOD HOPE, Ala. – The 2021 season was a special one for the Good Hope Lady Raider volleyball. Good Hope put together a run to the state tournament for the first time since 2009 and one of this year’s seniors, Addie Stripling, feels blessed to be coming back to play another season with a great group of teammates.

“It was so much fun. I loved every second of it. It was an amazing experience, especially with my team. Volleyball is such a fun sport, but with the girls that are on my team, that makes it so much better,” Stripling said. “There was never a dull moment with them, and we always make the most of every minute, especially in a game. We were all very close, so this helped when we were playing. We trusted each other more, which is a very important part of the game.”

Addie has spent time with the younger players going over a lot of important things on the volleyball court. There will be a lot of experience coming back to this year’s team and that will play a big role for the Lady Raiders in 2022.

“Since I’m a defensive specialist, I work with the passers and teach them correct form. I also work with them about footwork and how to have quick feet. Anticipating on where the ball is going next is really big as well,” Stripling said. “We have five seniors on the team that have been on varsity for two or more years. We also have a junior that has been on the team for three years and we have two players that will be on varsity for the first time: Emma Bailey and Makenzie Cruce. I always encourage them that we need to have good attitudes and good energy during games. All of the upperclassmen always push our desire to win, because we want to win no matter what it takes. If we have good attitudes, good energy, and our desire to win, then we can go even further than the Elite Eight.”

Addie has played for coach Natasha Holder for her volleyball career so far and has learned an important lesson from her.

“Coach Holder is a great coach. She always wants what’s best for us as a team. She’s caring and loving. She always looks out for us outside of sports,” Stripling said. “She pushes me to be my best in volleyball, school, and in my personal life. I have learned that if I make a mistake, just shake it off and put it behind me.”

Addie talked about how important it is to be a leader to the younger players and she has made so many great memories with this team on and off the court.

“It’s very important to be a leader on this team. They need good role models to look up to. I’ve had several good role models to look up to throughout the years and I’ve always wanted to be a good leader, someone for the younger girls to look up to,” Stripling said. “The team is special because we all have good relationships with each other, and we would do anything to help each other out. I know that if I was in trouble or if I needed someone to do something for me, I can go to one of my teammates. We’re so much fun to watch because we’re aggressive and scrappy. We try our best not to let the ball touch the ground. We also have amazing hitters that can slam the ball down and that’s so fun to watch.”

The team’s expectations haven’t changed one bit since last season and Addie has set aside some goals for herself, along with the team’s goals as well.

“Our expectations for this season is going to the state championship game and our goal is to win state. I believe we can do it and the team believe we can do it, especially coach Holder,” Stripling said. “My goals this year is to be all-time libero, have perfect passes on serve receive, always being in the right spot, and communicating by telling the hitters where the holes in the court are and working on taking control of the back row. Our goals are to mainly have as few mistakes as possible but be aggressive with every play. We don’t want to send any free balls over and we have to make everything harder for our opponent.”

Addie mentioned another moment that she’ll always remember from last season. Making it to state for the first time in 12 years was definitely special for the Lady Raiders and they learned so much about being there.

“Another great moment from last season was definitely winning county. It was a very tough game against a great team,” Stripling said. “I feel like that was one of the hardest games we’ve ever played. We earned that county title with the way we worked and played.”

She added,

“We learned that every game matters. They all lead up to the state tournament and each game is important, so this year, we’ll show up and play every game with everything we got. We can’t have any off days. We got to show up and show out. Making it to state last year was all so new to us. It was a very big “wow” moment for us. We got into our heads just thinking, ‘It’s crazy that we’re here.’ But now, we’re prepared for whatever teams we play, and we’ll give it everything we got.”

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