VYPE DFW Public School Midseason Volleyball Player of the Year: Ava Roberts
Mansfield Volleyball continues to show their dominance in their district schedule each week. The Lady Tigers have had great success this season as they have posted a 27-15 overall record and currently sit at the No. 1 spot in their district with a 9-0 district record. One of the many keys to their success this season has been senior right-side hitter and Dartmouth commit Ava Roberts. VYPE DFW was able to catch up with Roberts after she won the VYPE DFW Public School Midseason Volleyball Player of the Year Fan Poll presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors:
Making Memories, Staying focused
It's easy to make memories when you're having fun. For Roberts, this has proven to be true. "My favorite memory playing for my school was sophomore year in the playoffs when we defeated Southlake Carroll in five sets. We came back 13-9 in the fifth set to win 17-15. We had a huge student section and the energy was incredible; I will never forget it," Roberts said.
That sort of energy and experience certainly can be enough to keep anyone dedicated to their sport as well as doing well in their sport. For Roberts, staying focused hasn'tbeen difficult since she continues to always push herself to do the best that she can in every area. "I don't have much of an offseason since I also play club," Roberts told VYPE adding that she does push herself in order to always work hard. "During the off-season, I continue to work out, eat healthy, attend private lessons, and watch volleyball on television to continue to grow as an athlete. Sometimes it's difficult to keep up without immediately seeing it pay off in games, but I continue to push myself so that I can be my best self not only for myself, but my teammates as well."
Secrets to Success
Last season, Roberts helped lead the Lady Tigers to an undefeated district championship season (14-0) before falling in playoffs. Mansfield posted only three losses the entire season. Roberts credits the team's success to a family-minded mentality. "We were successful because of our bond and family-like atmosphere," Roberts noted. "We had no drama which led to complete trust on the court. Everyone had leadership qualities and different skills they were bringing to the table allowing each of us to continually push and learn from each other." Roberts went on to credit Mansfield's coach. "Our coach saw potential to go far and pushed us to reach our goals," Roberts said. "She understood our strengths and placed us in situations to be successful."
For Roberts, personal success was all about growing as a person and player. "Last season, I matured as a volleyball player and learned how to be mentally tough," noted Roberts. "My leadership abilities evolved and my confidence began to grow. Mentality can really make or break you as an athlete, so gaining control over that helped aid in my success. This season, after coming off of a successful club season with an extremely talented coach, my volleyball IQ has grown and my overall fundamental skills have strengthened."
There's no doubt that the team's mentality and Roberts' growth have been a factor in their continued success. Fans should expect to see strong outings from Roberts and the Lady Tigers throughout the rest of the season. "I am looking forward to just enjoying and savoring all the moments of my senior season of high school volleyball," Roberts told VYPE. "I love this team so much so developing closer bonds with them and making memories is my goal. I am also looking forward to the playoffs. We have grown so much as a team since the beginning of the season and can't wait to see how far we go."
Going into the rest of the season, Roberts' focus is to "Keep working!" Roberts certainly has a progress-minded outlook when it comes to her position on the court. "I am going to stay motivated and continue to work to improve my abilities as a player and a leader. Now is not the time to get lazy, to get comfortable. We need to take it one game at a time and continue to focus on technicalities to perfect our craft before playoffs," Roberts said. "We need to maintain a killer mentality and give no hope to our opponents."
This season, Roberts is looking forward to improving her focus in areas that she isn't quite so confident in order to find herself as more well-rounded. "I also want to work on my mindset and reiterate to myself to focus on being a leader and example to my teammates," Roberts added. "I tend to be hard on myself and provide myself little room for error. I try to be perfect for my team and feel guilty if I underperform. In those difficult moments of self-doubt, I try to remind myself that the game isn't about me. I trust in my team that we can encourage each other and step up when others are down. My goal for this season is to not give up. To continue to work hard and become both physically and mentally strong."
As for the team, winning game by game is the goal. "Our team goals are to come out of district undefeated and go into playoffs confident and hungry," Roberts said. "We have a lot of potential and are excited to see what the future holds for us. Right now we are working on technicalities so that we can perfect all the little imperfections before playoffs."
A Bright Future
Roberts is committed to play volleyball for Dartmouth next year. Although she has not yet decided on a major, she has expressed her excitement and gratitude towards Dartmouth for the opportunity to learn and play at their school. Roberts says she is interested in many different areas of study such as psychology, criminology, journalism, nutrition, and music. "All I know is that I want to do something that I love and never get tired of doing."
Roberts said choosing to go to Dartmouth was really a no-brainer. "Never in a million years did I expect to be granted the opportunity to attend an Ivy League school and I felt that it would be stupid of me to pass that up. Volleyball won't last forever so I had to think about what would prepare me best for my future and what better than an Ivy League education? I also instantly bonded with the coaches and team. I looked forward to phone calls and could talk nonstop. They treat me like family, not a pawn for their success. When I visited the campus, I instantly fell in love. The scenery and quaintness of the town is refreshing and I was in awe of the family feel and closeness of the community. It is a completely different environment for me, but I am extremely excited to begin my journey there. There are many more reasons, but I would be writing a book if I listed them all. It makes me smile just thinking about it."
Mansfield volleyball coach Taylor Elrod Dennehy was very excited to talk about the positive qualities that Roberts possesses. "Ava is so deserving of this honor," Dennehy said. "Ava is one of the hardest workers in the room, determined to achieve her goals and an amazing leader on and off the court. Of course, statistically, Ava is a dominating force on the court. She is a six-rotation player who excels in all aspects of the game. She leads our team this season in kills and her teammates trust her to get the job done. This season Ava is also a captain and a go-to leader on our team. She is encouraging, devoted, and pushes herself and her teammates to their utmost potential."
What is your favorite professional sports team?
"I don't really follow professional sports, but I am a huge advocate for loyalty, so I support my local teams including the Rangers, Mavericks, Cowboys, and Stars."
Who do you look up to as an athlete?
"Kobe Bryant because of his work ethic and leadership qualities. He said something once during an interview that has always stuck with me. He said: it's not about 'you'. You have to get over yourself and get to work."
If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive) who would it be? What would you hope to talk about?
"I would have dinner with my friend Jadyn that passed away when we were in sixth grade. It would be nice to see and talk to her one last time."