Winder-Barrow’s volleyball team is letting the good times roll in so far in its 2022 campaign. The Bulldoggs have dominated competition, rolling through opponents undefeated at 18-0.
The Bulldoggs’ most recent wins were on the road against Gainesville and East Forsyth, both of which ended with a 2-0 final score.
WBHS head volleyball coach Bailey Brooks said the girls’ commanding production thus far has created an exciting atmosphere.
“It’s exciting – I’m thrilled with how the girls are performing,” Brooks said.
“I'm excited to see them enjoying the sport as much as they do.They’ve just got a really good dynamic going. I’m just excited to see where they can keep pushing to through the season.”
While many teams focus on broader goals to help guide them through the season, Winder-Barrow focuses more on individual matches.
In fact, Brooks said she hasn’t even thought about any end-of-season goals for the team.
“You’ll hear me during a game saying, ‘push to five’ or ‘push to ten,’” Brooks said. “Basically, it’s our goal every single time to be first to five, first to ten, first to 15. So, we just have that ‘five’ goal in mind. We really just focus on the small things, pushing it and taking it out point by point by point.”
The Bulldoggs strongly emphasize the importance of making the effort throughout the game.
“We like to say our extra G in ‘Doggs represents the extra effort we put forth, not just in our games but everything we do,” senior setter Maya Hedden said, who is one of the captains this season.
“We believe that effort is trying your best even if you’re unable to execute whatever action you were trying to do," said Hedden,"if you at least tried with maximum effort, then we are happy.”
While effort is a key ingredient to the team's success, , attitude is even more important said Brooks, who added they're able to win games, because they stay composed even in tough moments.
“If we lose a point, we just basically roll over to the next point and stay focused on the next thing we have to get done to be successful,” Brooks said.
“So many times with females, you have them get down on themselves so quickly after just losing one or two points. So, for us, we push them to focus on the next set and just make sure we continue towards a win.”
The team seems to have bought into this mindset, especially Hedden. She recalls a time when teammate Hannah Roa was upset during a match against Morgan County. Roa was attempting to hit line, but she failed multiple times. Hedden, then, walked up to her and provided her with words of support and tips to succeed going forward to help lift her spirits and press forward. Those tips hit home, as Roa later found success and the Bulldogs went on to win that matchup 2-1.
“I feel like, as a setter and one of the captains, it’s my job to encourage and motivate my teammates on the court and to support them when they feel down,” Hedden said. “Especially when my teammates are having a bad day, I really need to be there for them and let them know that they aren’t alone and that they have a whole team that is supporting them.”
With Brooks at the helm of the team's leadership and camaraderie, these ideals have prospered throughout the Volley 'Doggs team and the entire group has grown to respect the first-year head coach rather quickly.
“Even though she is new this year, we have all come to love and respect her. She is proud of our hard work, and we see her praise and her leadership as a coach,” Hedden said.
Winder-Barrow has stormed through each of its sets this season, having only lost two. The team hasn't lost a set since Aug. 13.
The Lady Bulldoggs aspire to finish the season as one of the top seeds in region 8-AAAAA and will have the opportunity to continue its strong start as they return home Thursday to host a tri-match with Eastside at 5 p.m. and Clarke Central at 7 p.m. to kick-off this season’s region play.