KARNS CITY, Pa. (EYT/D9) — Ava Fox looked around at her club volleyball teammates and noticed something.
She was the only one without a jump serve.
So, the junior decided to do something about it.
(Above, Ava Fox)
Fox worked on one, knowing that if she wanted to play the sport at the next level, she needed to have as many skills as possible. Already sound at the net as well as in the back row, Fox wanted to up her game at the service line.
“I just started this year,” Fox said. “I mean, everyone on my club team had one and I was the only one who didn’t. I kinda felt left out.”
Fox’s serve is already potent — another weapon to add to her extensive repertoire on the volleyball court for Karns City.
Fox prides herself on her versatility. In seven matches this season, she leads the Gremlins in kills with 48 and digs with 41.
Coming into the season, Fox wasn’t sure what to expect from herself.
She didn’t necessarily think she was going to be doing so many things as well as she has.
Yet here she is.
“It’s definitely a lot to worry about on defense because you have to worry about getting to everything,” Fox said, grinning. “It’s hard playing in the back because you feel like you’re in charge of the whole team. You have to have a good pass. You have to get that set. Then at the net, you have to get that kill. It’s a lot of work. It’s actually very nerve wracking.”
But Fox takes it all in stride.
She always seems to have a smile on her face. She enjoys the game and enjoys playing all the different roles on the team, despite the pressure.
Fox hides her stress well.
“I knew I’d be pretty good,” she said, that smile still beaming, “but I didn’t think I’d be one of the best players.”
Karns City coach Sharon Schmoll also had the belief that Fox was going to make a big impact this season.
For her size — Fox is nearly 5-foot-10 — she is also very agile and not afraid to dive on the floor for a point-saving dig.
“She put so much work in,” Schmoll said. “She’s just working hard in practice all the time. It’s really cool seeing all of that pay off for her. Even in the summer she was hard at work getting ready for the season.”
Fox isn’t the only player on the Karns City roster showing off her versatility.
Senior Rosie Carden has also been a force for Karns City this season all over the court.
And like Fox, she developed a jump serve in the offseason.
“I really haven’t worked on it very much,” Carden said. “(Ava and I) want to try to play in college later on, so we both started working on one. It’s in the early stages.”
That’s a scary thought. Carden has been very effective this season from the service line.
In seven matches, she already has piled up 22 aces.
“Hopefully it gets a lot better,” Carden said. “A lot stronger. A lot lower.”
Carden doesn’t have Fox’s height — she’s 5-6 — but she still has a powerful swing at the net that can produce kills.
Carden has 21 of them this season.
“My height is a struggle sometimes,” Carden said, chuckling. “I’m kind of short, so I’m not a big hitter. It’s nice to hit sometimes. Sometimes I have a good day hitting. Sometimes I have a good day digging. I feel like we are really getting a lot better at strategically putting the ball where it needs to be rather than hitting it as hard as we can.”
Like Fox, Carden relishes the chance to do a little bit of everything — and do it well.
“It’s just nice to kind of be able to go anywhere that you really need to be,” Carden said. “I just like playing everywhere.”
In preparation for their collegiate careers, both Fox and Carden have also begun closely studying the game.
Fox watches as many volleyball matches as she can on television. So does Carden, who knows she will likely be a defensive player at the next level.
“I’m definitely being more strategic with setting,” Carden said. “If I do end up being a libero or in the back row, I better be prepared for the harder hits because it’s coming my way if I do.”