“I am a big believer in the game of volleyball that it’s not just one person,” Strafford head coach Ashley Bough said. “Great players stand out and make everyone around them better, and I’ve got a lot of great players.”
Strafford is a well-oiled machine. They’re 18-1-1, with their 18th win being a gut-check 27-25, 25-22 win over Marshfield Tuesday. Strafford’s lost just three sets all season.
“We put in a lot of work in the offseason and having such a great record,” Senior outside hitter Rilie Vote says. “Our team chemistry’s amazing and we’re executing our plays.”
The story of these Indians can be told through their three captains. Vote transfered here from Arkansas as a junior last year, and is committed to Arkansas Tech. Her transition to Missouri was a little nerve-inducing. “I didn’t even know if I was going to make the team!”
She’s done more than that. She leads the team in kills this year with 183, her .448 hit percentage is best on the squad, and she registers 4.5 kills per set – that’s second best.
Meanwhile, senior outside hitter Gracie Morton is second on the team in digs with 96, and is the kind of player every coach loves.
“Gracie for years has been the kind of player who doesn’t always stand out but if she wasn’t there you’d know it,” Bough said. “She’s the glue.”
And Chloe Rear, just a junior, has already committed to Missouri State. Even though she missed around half the games, she’s second on the team in kills with 110 and leads them in kills per set with 5.0.
“I’m really, really excited to be part of that program,” Rear said. She has lots of connections to the Bears. Her aunt played for them – and so did her head coach. “I’ve heard nothing but good things about them and I’m just excited to start playing with them.”
But before that happens, Rear and her teammates have a score to settle. They made it to the state championship game last season and lost in three spirited sets to Lutheran. They have a different result in mind this season. It starts with these three captains.
“We bring good leadership and we try to set an example for everyone else,” Morton said.
“They each bring something different,” Bough said. “And without each one of them – and without every player on our team – we wouldn’t be where we are right now or hope to be in the future.”
The Strafford Indians are the Arby’s High School Athletes of the Week.