CREAM OF THE CROP: Barger Emerges As Top Ranger
LAST SEASON WAS MORE OR LESS A GUT-CHECK CAMPAIGN FOR BAYTOWN STERLING JUNIOR KATY BARGER.
After an impressive debut varsity season as a freshman in 2020, Barger saw her spot up for grabs with 10 seniors fighting for playing time last year. Competition was heated, intense.
The seniors forced Barger to prove herself. They wanted to play just as badly as she did. Barger could have backed down or stepped up.
“Being able to compete for a spot on the court was challenging,” she said.
Barger was able to win a starting spot. It wasn’t easy, but it set the tone for the rest of her season. Beating out a plethora of seniors for an outside or right-side hitter role was exactly what she needed to take the next step in her career.
“Being able to make it on top and get a starting position on the court was really rewarding,” Barger said. “I had a spot when I was a freshman. Knowing there were more people coming to take my spot, it was hard. Being able to keep it was good.”
Barger had a tremendous season as a result. She led the Rangers in kills with 336 and added 180 digs, 45 total blocks and 18 aces.
After earning a second- team, all-district selection as a freshman, Barger took first-team honors in 2021.
This year, MVP, maybe?
“That’s definitely my goal, as well as being able to reach 1,000 career kills,” Barger said. “That’s a huge milestone and I want to be able to accomplish that or District MVP by my senior year.”
Barger has 454 kills through two varsity seasons with two more to go. She’s on her way to 1,000. And her confidence is sky high after emerging as the Rangers’ primary attacker as a sophomore.
“I know where I stand,” Barger said, “and I got a sense that I can do whatever I put my heart to.”
Barger continues to grow and mature. She said it’s different playing at Sterling, where a lot of the emphasis is on relationships and learning how to play together.
“It’s a lot different from other schools because we focus so much on how much energy we have as a team and team chemistry,” she said. “It has helped me improve so much. I never realized how much that team chemistry and bond really does help with how you play on the court.”
Barger is already a leader by example. The numbers talk. Now, she is eager to show that she has what it takes to be a voice others will listen to.
“Last year, there were a lot of seniors,” she said. “This year, I feel like it will be a lot easier for me to become a leader on the court and to step up.”
There will be no backing down.