BUILDING BLOCKS: Asabi, Rodriguez steady ship for Rangers
TERRY'S VOLLEYBALL TEAM ENJOYED A SUCCESSFUL 2020 SEASON, GOING 15-7, FINISHING THIRD IN DISTRICT PLAY AND MAKING THE PLAYOFFS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 15 YEARS.
If the Rangers are to sustain that success this season, senior middle hitter Gloria Asabi and sophomore libero Elizabeth Rodriguez will play essential roles.
Asabi finished second on the team in kills (135) and first in total blocks (86) last season. Rodriguez is a newcomer, climbing the ranks quickly after leading the junior varsity as a freshman.
Asabi will again be a prominent attacker for the Rangers and with a bigger voice on the court.
"I want to be more of a vocal leader," Asabi said. "There will be more younger girls this year, so it's important I encourage them and lead them and make them better. This team is such a hard-working team, and I just hope I can help everyone do their best and perform their best this season."
Asabi has improved her defense considerably, being smarter with her blocks.
"I'm excited for her to go out with a bang in her last year," coach Jene Vanderbilt said. "Win or lose, I told her to go out and have fun and just enjoy the moment. You can't get this time back. Her leadership will be huge. She has a calm demeanor which is great for the team."
Rodriguez brings a fresh energy to the team, with a work ethic and hunger to improve that is second to none. She has natural leadership skills and a selfless attitude.
"She can play any position I ask her to play," Vanderbilt said. "I'm excited to have her on varsity. I think her leadership and work ethic will be great for some of the younger girls coming up in our program."
Eyebrow-raising words, considering Rodriguez, who can play libero or setter, is one of those younger girls. But she has quickly matured into a respected voice among her peers.
"I'm just focusing on what the team needs," Rodriguez said. "If they need me in the front row, I'll do my best to jump as high as I can. I do whatever it takes for my team."
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KEEP AN EYE OUT: Two other Rangers to watch are senior outside hitter Keonnae Richardson and senior right-side hitter Renee Sullivan. They will be important pieces of the Rangers' attack.
THIRD ROUND DREAMS: Terry won a playoff game last year, sweeping Madison in the Bi-District round. The Rangers are hopeful to get past the Area round and to the Regional Quarterfinals in 2021.
IMPRESSIVE DEBUT: Jene Vanderbilt is entering her second year at the helm of the Rangers. She had a nice debut season, winning 15 of 22 games, including 11 of 16 in district play. Vanderbilt appreciates having a team that works hard and has a good attitude.