HOLLY POND, Ala. – In this interview, I spoke with Holly Pond Junior Emma Earl. Earl talked about the valuable experience she gained from playing last season and how she feels to be playing with another great group of girls this year.
“I feel like last year was one of my better years. Our team chemistry was really good, and we communicated well with each other. I learned that no matter where you are playing, you matter to the team. If you have a positive attitude and mindset, then no one can stop you,” Earl said. “It was pretty good. Most of the team last year is still the same. We lost two good seniors in Kennedy Twilley and Mattie Earl. Mattie wasn’t able to play her senior year because of a torn ACL but having her there helped a lot. She helped me push through when I was struggling. All the girls were so supportive and encouraging. I knew that each girl had my back on the court.”
Emma learned so much from Kennedy and Mattie last season and has played for and took away so much from some amazing coaches so far.
“From Kennedy, I learned to always encourage and to never give up. When we were down, Kennedy was always there, hyping us up, and not stopping. From Mattie, I learned to be strong and to not take anything for granted. On the court, Mattie was strong. She didn’t show her weakness and that was an advantage for us as a team,” Earl said. “When I was in middle school, Emily Brown was the head varsity coach, and she is the reason why I fell in love with setting. She was the setter for her team in high school and she worked with me a lot early on in my career. Even when she transferred, she still came back and helped me with setting. I will forever be grateful for her.”
“In seventh grade, I had Beth Taylor, and she was awesome. She pushed us every day to be better. In eighth grade, I got moved up to JV and I had Tammy Foust. She is one of the best coaches I’ve ever had. She put in the work to make us better, but still cared for us. She believed in us every game and knew we could do it. We won the county championship that year. Adrien Adams has been my varsity coach the last three years and she is one heck of a coach. She knows the game of volleyball and it shows. I have learned so much from her these past few years and it’s unreal. She has helped shape me into the volleyball player I am today.”
“Coach Adams has taught me almost everything I know. She taught me to know my hitters and know who to set it to. She has taught me to read the other team and play them. Even when we are down, she wants us to still be up and talking. Even when I’m tried, she has taught me to use that as motivation to push through. One of the most important things she has taught me is to carry God with me. He has my back at all times and have faith in him.”
Emma has been one of many leaders on this team and has taught the younger players so much.
“Being a leader on the team is big shoes to fill and I had to fill them when I was only a freshman. Being a setter, you have to run the court, you make the plays, and determine what happens next,” she said. “I have taught the younger girls to cherish the moments you have on and off the court. You never know when it’ll be the last game you play. Play every game like it’s your last. I have also taught the younger girls to always play hard. If I work hard on the court, then they will see me and use that as inspiration or motivation.”
Emma and the rest of her team worked on a lot during the summer, and she’s set some goals for her and the team.
“We worked on defense a lot and serve receive. Since doing that, I can tell a big difference in how we play,” she said. “This past summer, we had the opportunity to work out with Steve Johnson and Colton Terry. I want to carry what I learned from them into the game of volleyball by being mentally, physically, and spiritually strong on the court. My team goal for the season is to make it to state. We have a really good chance to do that.”
Emma talked about what will make this team special to watch this year.
“What will make this team special to watch this year is the excitement you see on the court. When we get excited and pumped up, you can’t stop us. People have told me multiple times this year they love watching us play and they love our chemistry on the court.”
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