Volleyball player set for success: Leadership on team comes from dedication, perseverance

The ball sails over the net back and forth as two teams fights for the next point. Players work as a single unit to keep the volley going as one player makes a dig, another player sets the ball, and a final player slams it down onto the opposing team’s side of the floor. Junior Maddie Luera has been playing volleyball for eight years and has always enjoyed the competitive nature of the sport.

“My sister used to play volleyball and we have always been competitive,” Maddie said. “When my older sister used to play, I would look at her and say ‘I want to be better’, and that drove me to play volleyball.”

The seed of competition only grew as Maddie continued to play volleyball – going from volleying the ball with her sister to playing on the national stage.

“[My club team], the Brazos Valley Jrs won 3rd at Nationals two years ago when I was 15,” Maddie said. “Placing 3rd at Nationals felt like eating my favorite candy, that I haven’t had in a long time – sweet experience.”

While club volleyball has its advantages, high school volleyball has a special place in Maddie’s heart.

“Club volleyball had more focus on the individual rather than high school volleyball that just focuses on the team,” Maddie said. “I like my team mates. My teammates make me feel proud because of the way they present themselves as a team and individuals.”

Working with her teammates has also pushed Maddie to learn things about herself and mature as an athlete and student.

“Volleyball has taught me to consider others and to be a team player, and [do that], not just when I’m on the team,” Maddie said. “It’s also taught me to be humble and it has helped me work on my social skills and to mature.”

Volleyball coach Ashley Davis looks to Maddie to make things happen on the court as a leader for the team.

“She’s a leader on the court and she makes big plays happen,” Davis said. “She’s a leader for various reasons: academically, she helps other players on the team, in the game, she motivates them on the court, and in practice, she does everything I ask her to do.”

Maddie’s teammates also see her as a model on the court and look to her as a leader to help the team succeed.

“She’s very hardworking, she never gives up, she pushes everyone and will not let you slack off,” senior Halle Banks said. “She pushes everyone to do their best and when were down she’ll do whatever it takes to lift us up and get us energized”

While she’s excelling on the high school team, she does have concerns about pursuing volleyball on a collegiate level.

“My dream school would be Texas A&M, because I have always been a big Aggie fan and I always watch their games,” Maddie said. “I had colleges watch me play volleyball, but I haven’t talked to any schools and I’m short, so playing in a collegiate level against tall people makes me nervous.”

Even if Maddie doesn’t continue to play volleyball after high school, it will always be something she enjoys.
“I enjoy volleyball because I’m passionate about it,” Maddie said. “I enjoy it because it’s what I have been doing for years.”