Athlete of the Week: NMB’s Roy gives team a big boost

nmbvolley-15blockWhen North Myrtle Beach High volleyball player Maddie Roy was nominated for the Mammy’s Kitchen Athlete of the Week award, few could have predicted that her best week was still to come. The sophomore turned up her play a notch in leading the Lady Chiefs to four victories in as many days, three of them in five-set tiebreakers.

“It was a crazy week,” said Roy, who won the Player of the Week voting in runaway fashion for her role in the four-win week. “I don’t think I’ve ever played that many matches in such a short period of time except for tournaments, and those are only two out of three sets. To go five sets three times was pretty wild.”

Thanks in part to the sophomore setter feeding her teammates an average of 20 sets per match, the Lady Chiefs managed to win 15-13 fifth-set tiebreakers over previously undefeated Carolina Forest and North Carolina power West Brunswick. After sweeping Wilson, North Myrtle Beach had to dig deep again against region rival St. James.

“I think St. James was the most difficult because bouncing back from losing the first two sets is really hard,” Roy said. “You just have to push through it and try to make the minimum mistakes as possible. We learned that we have to get up for every match from the start, and that communication is the key.”

Roy credits communication both on and off the court for the Lady Chiefs’ hot start, saying this year’s squad has a togetherness that was lacking last season. North Myrtle Beach coach Erica Allman says Roy’s leadership by example as only a sophomore brings a lot to the team as a player, student and person.

“Maddie is a hard worker on and off the court,” Allman said. “She excels in the classroom and is a hard worker on the volleyball court. From conditioning, weights, and drills, Maddie is one of the first to always complete an assignment. I’m glad I’m able to coach a player like Maddie.”

Allman hopes the hectic week has her team battle-tested and ready for another challenging stretch in the schedule, beginning with Tuesday’s showdown with rival Myrtle Beach with first place in the Region 7-3A standings at stake. Roy, who first got involved with volleyball through Myrtle Beach coach and Grand Strand Juniors instructor Larry Church, will have to step up her game again this week to help her team reach its goals.

“I used to play softball and basketball, but my mom’s trainer is (Church) and he saw how tall I was and got me started in (GSJ),” Roy recalled. “It really helped me and a lot of the local girls get better, and we all kind of know each other and want to beat each other. … If we can keep playing hard and together, I think we can go a long way in the playoffs.”

Photo by Louis E. Keiner and Lesley M. Etherson

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