The heart of volleyball

Freshman Natalia Pazos improves her setting skills during varsity volleyball practice.
Nebai Hernandez '16

Freshman Natalia Pazos improves her setting skills during varsity volleyball practice. Nebai Hernandez '16

As the target of every receive and the source of every spike, the setter is the only player that is meant to touch the ball during every point. Convent of the Sacred Heart volleyball values a dynamic of teamwork and communication where the setter position is crucial

The Sacred Heart varsity volleyball team can attest to how vital the role of a setter is within the team.

“A good setter makes our passers look good and our hitters look even better,” Sacred Heart varsity volleyball coach, Mrs. Beth Wilson-Jordan said. 

Player communication with a setter can change the outcome of a game. A composed and clear-

Varsity volleyball setter, freshman Natalia Pazos, sets the volleyball for middle hitter, senior Marie Njie-Mitchell. Nebai Hernandez '16
Varsity volleyball setter, freshman Natalia Pazos, sets the volleyball for middle hitter, senior Marie Njie-Mitchell.
Nebai Hernandez ’16

headed setter can make a chaotic receive into a controlled attack. Setters must be able to think ahead and plan accordingly to the available hitters and the opponent’s formation on the other side of the net, according to teamusa.org.

Hitters, especially the middle hitter, and the setter repeatedly practice setting and hitting balls over the net to become adept at anticipating each other’s timing.

“The setter develops an almost intimate relationship with the middle hitters in particular, as she is physically close to the middles when setting and works to develop a timing relationship,” coach Jordan said.

Varsity volleyball co-captain and middle hitter senior Marie Njie-Mitchell considers setters to be game changers.

“Setters are pretty much the quarterbacks of a team, they control the flow of the court. They make the decision of who to set the ball to so they have to play in a smart way,” Marie said.

Sacred Heart volleyball has a successful track record of recent and current skilled setters.

“Sacred Heart has had and currently has some exceptional setting talent,”  coach Jordan said. “We have been the envy of many FAA coaches who have commented specifically on the talent of Sacred Heart setters.”

Previous Sacred Heart varsity volleyball setter and alumna Grace McKenney ’15 left a legacy of strong work ethic and passion for volleyball that the current varsity setter, freshman Natalia Pazos, embodies as well.

Freshman Natalia Pazos improves her setting skills during varsity volleyball practice. Nebai Hernandez '16
Freshman Natalia Pazos improves her setting skills during varsity volleyball practice.
Nebai Hernandez ’16

Natalia started playing volleyball in the sixth grade and immediately sought out the setter position of her own volition after seeing Grace McKenney play in elementary school.

Natalia also saw the setting position as a way to use her short height to get under the ball faster.

“Setters have to be fast, you’re not always going to get perfect passes so you have to be ready,” Natalia said.

According to coach Jordan, aside from being calm under pressure, being leaders, and being quick on their feet, setters also must have dextrous hands. When considering who to try out as a setter, coach Jordan considers many aspects of how each player handles the volleyball from wrist movements to target accuracy.

Current players on the team who have these skills are freshman Natalia Pazos, senior Julenne Jaramillo, and junior Jenna Whelan.

Julenne, a primary setter when she played on the Sacred Heart junior varsity volleyball team during her sophomore year, discusses the effectiveness of character building.

“Being a setter instilled a confidence in me that facilitated every other position I have played. I have been a setter so I feel like I can tackle anything else,” Julenne said.

Although the setter is a key position on the team, coach Jordan believes the whole team has to work together to achieve victory.

“Volleyball is a team sport,” coach Jordan said. “The team with the most talent or outstanding player[s] does not necessarily win. Volleyball is a fast-moving team sport and momentum, mental toughness and team chemistry are as important to the success of the team as are talent and ability.”

– Nebai Hernandez, Staff Writer