Athlete of the Week: Rogers gives Socastee a big bump

The Socastee High volleyball team returned a solid group of veterans this year but was lacking a certain spark.

It already appears the Lady Braves have found it from an unlikely source in freshman middle and outside hitter Dale Rogers, who is playing with the skill of an upperclassman but with the youthful enthusiasm of a rookie.

And she already has a Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week Award to show for it in her first varsity season.

“As a ninth grader, she has brought an excitement to the varsity team this year with her big kills and booming serves,” said Socastee coach Allyson Gordon, whose Lady Braves are off to a 3-1 start in Region VII-AAA play.

“Dale has been the needed addition to compliment the good, experienced varsity players we have,” Gordon added. “We feel she is one of the main reasons this year’s varsity (squad) is a more competitive, confident team.”

Rogers’ arrival on the scene hasn’t been a total surprise since she played at the JV level the previous two years. But her quick development through the local Grand Strand Juniors program has enhanced her contributions.

In last week’s 3-0 record against region foes, Rogers had 20 kills in a victory over reigning region champion Myrtle Beach, giving her and Rogers and the Lady Braves teammates confidence they can have a strong season.

“In the Myrtle Beach game when when I started thinking we were a pretty good team all around,” Rogers said. “But we have some tough games coming up against St. James and North Myrtle Beach)so we just want to keep playing hard and keep a good attitude.”

Rogers followed the Myrtle Beach match by showing her versatility playing on or away from the net in a win over Georgetown. She scored on 23 of 26 serves with 20 aces, including a streak of 13 in a row, added nine kills.

At 5-foot-9 and growing, Rogers already leads the team in both kills and blocks, and her serves often seem unreturnable when she gets on a roll. Still, Rogers quietly thanks her coach and teammates for any accolades.

“Coach is really nice and very encouraging and supportive, and my teammates have helped me a lot,” she said. “I really want to play volleyball all the way through college, but right now I just want to help my team win.”

So far, so good for Rogers and the Lady Braves, who look forward to seeing her continued improvement for 3 1/2 more years. If she keeps getting better at the current rate, you’ll hear a lot more about Rogers in the future.

“With her continued improvement, she will definitely be a tremendous asset to the program for the next four years,” Gordon said. “Dale has the potential to be one of the most noted players to come out of Socastee Volleyball.

“She is a fine volleyball player, student, and person. Dale is a pleasure to coach and we are so thrilled to have her as a Lady Brave.”

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