AOTW: Henley has Chiefs ready to salvage season

North Myrtle Beach’s Kayla Henley couldn’t wait to get back on the volleyball court for her senior season. Now she and her Lady Chiefs teammates are waiting and wondering when play will resume.

Henley helped North Myrtle Beach to a pair of strong tournament showings and a 4-0 sweep of local rivals before Hurricane Florence put the season – and the Lady Chiefs’ momentum – on pause.

“It’s definitely been hard to miss three weeks of the season,” said Henley, who was named the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week before Florence intervened. “We have a lot of goals we want to accomplish so it’s tough to wait and not know when you are going to get to play again.”

Henley went the extra mile to improve her game over the summer. She was chosen to participate in USA Volleyball’s High Performance Camp in Tulsa, OK in July. She said the 10-day event prepared her for a top-level senior season and the chance to play at the next level.

“It was amazing to work with the USA Volleyball coaches and get so much knowledge from them,” said Henley, who helped her team to a second place finish in the Gold Division against teams from Canada, Italy and Australia. “And to get the chance to play against girls from all over the world, it really was a great experience.”

Henley’s high school team was heading into a much-anticipated home match against defending state champion Myrtle Beach on Sept. 11, when Hurricane Florence closed Horry County Schools and put the showdown on hold. The rematch of last year’s Lower State Final has become a huge rivalry between the two state powers.

“It kind of sucks because we were all hyped up for it,” Henley said. “It’s been a lot of fun having Myrtle Beach as a rival. They are one of the better teams in the state so it makes both of us better It’s always a great match so we look forward to playing them.”

Just when that match will be made up – or any of the other six region matches that have been missed – is anyone’s guess. All Henley knows is that she and her Lady Chiefs teammates will be ready for it.

“We are all hungry to get out there again and we’re very motivated to push ourselves to get ready,” said Henley, who has led captains’ practices and worked out with Grand Strand Juniors to stay in game shape. “I’m not too worried about it because I know the kind of girls we have on our team. We’re going to keep pushing and we won’t let up.”

Photo Courtesy of NMBHS

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