Your password needs to be at least 8 characters and one number.
Christian Stringer, Goose Creek Memorial Volleyball
AS A YOUNG CHILD, CHRISTIAN STRINGER DIDN’T THINK SHE’D BE MAKING HEADLINES BECAUSE OF HER PLAY ON THE VOLLEYBALL COURT.
She always figured it’d be because of hoops.
But growing up with two older sisters, Amyah Polius and Kierra Polius, who loved the sport and got their younger sister involved at an early age, Stringer discovered she preferred kills and digs to rebounds and steals.
“I originally wanted to be a basketball player,” Stringer said. “But watching them, it really made me fall in love with the game.”
The three sisters would play “pepper” together outside all the time growing up. If the weather was bad, they’d take their game inside.
Volleyball was their bond.
Stringer tried out for volleyball in the seventh grade and fell in love with it. Now she will be looked upon as a senior leader for a Goose Creek Memorial team hoping to bounce back from a subpar 2021 season.
The Patriots went 12-7 in non-district play last year but faltered in district, going 3-12.
Stringer, a middle blocker, totaled 184 kills, 25 digs, 23 blocks and 14 aces for a senior-laden team.
“I learned it’s a lot deeper than just playing a game,” she said. “It’s about a team,
and if you don’t have that team connection, your game will not be all the way there. During the hard times, you have to lock in. Even if you’re messing up, it’s important to dig deep and find that fire.”
Stringer found all of those elements in then-senior Zoe Martinez and studied Martinez’s ways. Stringer knew there would come a time when it would be her team to lead.
She admired Martinez’s relentlessness and determination, no matter how hard the moment or difficult the game.
“She would play to the very last point, and I loved that about her,” Stringer said.
Stringer said coach Alicia Nava has made it clear that her time is now. She certainly has the chops. Stringer is committed and no-nonsense when she’s on the court.
She has ambitions of playing at the next level. But, more importantly, she wants to win as a Patriot.
“It’s my time to lead,” Stringer said. “I really have to step in and lead and be able to encourage my team.”
She knows what she wants.
“My goal is to have a better team connection and just be a family overall,” Stringer said. “Win some games. Last year wasn’t the best, as far as that team connection. But I really think we can make a comeback.”
WHEN ZOË MARTINEZ WALKED INTO THE HALLS OF GOOSE CREEK MEMORIAL, SHE PASSED BY THE RECORD BOARD. IT WAS A PLACE SHE STOPPED AND ENVISIONED WHAT HER CAREER COULD BE.
"I just pushed myself so hard since my freshman year," Martinez said. "I walked in, and I looked at the record board. It was my time and I wanted to make my name known at the school."
Four years later, Martinez has done just that through her play on the volleyball court and during the summer playing sand volleyball.
In her sophomore season, she first etched her name onto the record board in career aces and single season aces. Her junior year it was the career assists record that fell. Now, as a senior she wants to bolster those numbers and take down the single-season assists record.
But in the spring, her senior season was in jeopardy.
While teaching middle school players on the sand volleyball court, she jumped up to serve like she had a thousand times before, but this time felt a pop in her left knee.
The next day when Martinez woke up, the pain she felt signaled to her that something was wrong. In fact, she had a tear in her meniscus, which required surgery.
"I thought that was it," Martinez said. "I was scared for my senior year, but I knew I had a few months to recover. I was in between 'I should be fine' and 'OK, what happens if it is really bad'."
Doctors would go in and just shave off some of her meniscus muscle, which was bigger than normal, which would help in her recovery. The recovery process went swift as she was already walking out of the gate.
In mid-July, Martinez was cleared to return to volleyball activities, which included beach. She and her partner played in a few tournaments and qualified for Beach Nationals in Florida, where they performed well.
Being full-go for her senior year has excited Martinez as she looks to bolster those records for younger sister Ava — who enters the 7th grade this year — to one day chase and put the final touches on her Patriots' volleyball legacy.
"I want them to remember the energy I leave on the court and just the passion I have for volleyball," Martinez said.