Ashley Dawn Photography

Relentless Radford Volleyball

  Volleyball season is well underway in Bobcat Country. The RHS volleyball team has a lot of pressure riding on their shoulders this year; they are entering the season with only three remaining players from the 2016 state championship team. This year’s team is giving their all in order to defend the title and finish the 2017 season with a win in Richmond for the second year in a row. While most were snoozing away in bed this summer, these ladies woke up before the sun and headed straight to the gym. From 6:30-8:30am, and again from 6-8pm, the volleyball team could be found drenched in sweat, with bruises decorating their hips and elbows. As the season progresses, they continue to put in the hustle necessary to obtain their goals and to push each other in the direction of greatness. Led by Jess Mitchell, the new head coach, the team has been putting in countless hours since June. “I am really excited to coach this squad as my first year as a head coach. They have already earned a special place in my heart and I can’t wait to see how far we can go,” she says. Mitchell has already added an element of fire and passion to the Radford volleyball program in the short time she has been here. She has quickly become an influential leader in the lives of her players, and her love for them as individuals, as well as the sport is evident. “She [Jess] is a strong, hard working coach who loves and cares very much about her team,” says Gabby Perez, junior.

 To initiate the season, Radford Volleyball successfully defeated Bathe County and Galax in their first two scrimmages, as well as Fort Chiswell, Christiansburg, and Perry McCluer in regular season games. They suffered a disappointing loss in a tight, five match game on Christiansburg’s home court, which only pushed them to work harder in order to prepare for the future.

“We learned what losing felt like, and it sucked, so we aren’t letting it happen again,” says junior Abbey Vinson.

 Not only is the team learning to become better athletes, but they are becoming better individuals in the process. Before and after every game the girls and their coach set a moment aside to circle up, hand in hand to refocus their hearts and to strengthen their mentality. “It’s nice to pray and thank God for giving us the opportunity to play the game that we love,” says sophomore Beth Roop.

 The 2017 Radford High School volleyball team is undeniably the team to beat this season. Every player serves a unique purpose and adds their own flare to the mix. Charlie Dietz, the only freshmen on the team, as well as one of the six starters, has earned every bit of her success. She plays a variety of sports and can often be seen wearing multiple different uniforms throughout day. “I was really nervous about playing at the varsity level, but my teammates and coaches have been great at helping me get acclimated to the higher level of play,” Dietz says. Dietz is a leading hitter for the Radford Volleyball team and she has a promising athletic career ahead of her.

 Radford is off to a strong start this season and is setting the bar high moving forward. Miano realizes the importance of consistency and keeps a level head, despite the teams’ numerous victories thus fur. “It’s not how you start a season, it’s how you end it,” she says. Volleyball has been a part of Miano’s life for as long as she can remember. She began her career in rec league, and has since played on the Radford middle school, JV, and varsity teams, as well as playing on the JO’s travel volleyball team. “I’m sad knowing that this is a season of lasts, but that makes me want to work that much harder and be that much more successful, so that when I’m done, I know I did everything I could,” she says.

 It is impossible to ignore the amount of talent and enthusiasm that is laced in the hearts of these young women. Their willingness to give up weekends and forfeit the coveted hours of sleep accurately displays their determination to win. Not only do they play with their minds and bodies, but they play with their hearts as well- a factor that makes them unstoppable. Don’t miss out on a chance to  cheer for the relentless Radford volleyball team!

Click here to view their schedule.

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