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All-Area Volleyball Player of the Year: Kate Hardie
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All-Area Volleyball Player of the Year: Kate Hardie

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Q: Going to states, what was that like?

A: It was exciting to have the opportunity again and then win the quarterfinals.

Q: You played Lord Botetourt (eventual state champ) in the semifinals. Did you think at all about having to play them before you even got there?

A: Yeah. We were thinking about it the whole entire season. We wanted to play them.

Q: You didn’t lay down against them. Do you feel like you put up a decent fight?

A: No. I don’t think we really did. We could’ve played a whole lot better.

Q: Tell me about the match before that. What was it like to win that?

A: It was very exciting. We’ve played Hidden Valley before the quarterfinals, and it was nice knowing that we could beat them in three [sets] and just get it over with and go to the semis.

Q: Was that your most exciting win of the year, or were there other games that were more exciting?

A: I don’t think that was the most exciting one. I think the most exciting game was beating JF for the first time in five, fighting through that game, and then the second [win over JF], coming back from [being down] 2-0.

Q: So why was it that you enjoyed beating them? Because they’ve been really good for a while?

A: Yes. JF, they mostly all the time win, so it’s kind of nice to be the underdog and win that game.

Q: Do you feel like you guys had an underdog mentality this season? Or did that change once you guys started piling up wins? Were you guys the team to beat then?

A: I don’t know. I think that once we kept on winning and winning and winning, we were one of the top teams to beat in the district.

Q: Did your role change from last year to this year?

A: I think [I was] more of a vocal leader. Just trying to help people know where they’re supposed to be at on the court in a certain rotation, or whether it’s showing them the right shots to hit on the court.

Q: How did you contribute on the court this year?

A: I think hitting, and my defense became a factor in big games.

Q: What about your attacking ability sets you apart?

A: I think it’s being smart at the right time. Knowing where the ball needs to go if we need to get that point back, and being a strong hitter comes in handy, too.

Q: How did you improve this year?

A: I think I improved serve-receive passing and serving. A whole lot mentally. Last year when we were down, I’d be down.

Q: How about your team? How did you guys improve from first game to last game?

A: I think we came together as a whole. Our team chemistry kind of came together especially after we lost that game to LCA. We kind of pulled everything together after that and played our game.

Q: What was your best game as a team, or for you personally?

A: I think the Hidden Valley game; I think we all came together as a team during that one. All the pieces were put together, and we played our type of game … for the first time against them.

Q: Do you have any other good memories from the season, whether it was in a game or not?

A: Every single game, before the game we’d do the “Cotton Eye Joe” [dance]. And then every playoff game, either our principal or Coach [Kristen] Hardie would bring us a pack of Oreos [to play games with]. That would be kind of our pre-game ritual.

Q: Is that a way to keep you guys loose before games?

A: Yes. We wouldn’t stress as much about who we were playing against.

Q: So you play setter for your travel team. Was it hard to transition away from that at Rustburg?

A: I think it was, especially with passing, because during the summer, all I did was set, set, set. … And playing defense, it was harder to read.

Q: Do you like playing outside hitter? Or if you could have your choice, what would you play?

A: I like hitting during the high school season. But for travel, I like setting.

Q: Did you know at the beginning of the season your team had a lot of potential?

A: Yes. I didn’t think we were gonna make it to the [state] semis, but I knew we had potential.

Q: What got you to where you ended up?

A: We were a really good serving team, and our defense, most of the time, was pretty accurate. Every single day we would go into practice and work on the basics.

Q: What advice do you have for younger players?

A: Keep playing. The more you work at it, the better you’ll get.

Q: Aside from volleyball, do you have other sports you like to play or watch?

A: I like watching men’s basketball. UNC. I used to play basketball.

Q: What’s your favorite food?

A: I just like chicken tenders and fries. Mom makes a hamburger and she puts onion on it and barbecue sauce. I like that. I like onion rings.

Q: How about your favorite restaurant?

A: Red Robin. And Tropical Smoothie Café.

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?

A: “Full House.”

Q: Who is your favorite singer or artist?

A: I like all music, I guess. All genres.

Q: What’s the last movie you saw?

A: “Star Wars.” You have to go see the new one; it’s so good. I teared up.

Q: If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?

A: Michael Jordan? I don’t know. I like Kerri Walsh [Jennings]. I like April Ross.

Emily Brown covers high school sports for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5529.

Emily Brown covers the Hillcats, ODAC and high school sports for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5529. 

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