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Stratford senior Alexis Andrews.
Alexis Andrews is Stratford volleyball.
The 5-foot-7 outside hitter embraces her team as a family. She is all-inclusive, guilty of a one-for-all mentality. She sacrifices for the good of the Spartans.
For the good of her sisters.
"My teammates motivate me the most," Andrews said. "I want to keep pushing for them and to keep getting better for them. They're my best friends, and I feel I would personally let them down if I wasn't on my best game and doing what I can to be my best for them."
Andrews' best is pretty spectacular. She led Stratford in kills (208) and aces (24) last season, with 183 digs. This season, through the first 10 games, she has 63 kills, 76 digs, five total blocks and six aces.
And she does all this while being considerably undersized for her position.
"I'm shorter, so it's kind of hard for me to block, but I'm getting better at adjusting and reading and reacting," Andrews said. "Defense has always been a struggle for me, and I'm trying to get better. It's all a process."
A process she works tirelessly to master and continues to get better at.
"I noticed you really mess with tall girls when you tool off of them (when a hitter directs a hit off a blocker's hands or body, deflecting the ball out for a point) and they start thinking it's something they're messing up," Andrews said. "I actually get a lot of my points off tooling. I'm shorter and I can't just hit over them, so I hit into them and knock the ball out. That really messes with their head, and you can throw them off their game."
Coach Jenny Adcock said Andrews, a team captain and three-year letterman, is a terrific leader. "The heart of the team," Adcock said.
"They feed off her energy and enthusiasm," Adcock said. "She's a firecracker out there for us. She works really hard to play smart and tip off of blockers and take good shots. She doesn't just go up there and just swing."
Andrews is a huge part of the Spartans, but she's not the only big-time performer. There's also junior Skylar George, who leads the team with 82 kills and 95 digs so far this season, and junior Nina Meara Terry, who leads the team in assists with 225.
"I think we're very diverse in personalities and positions," Andrews said. "It's a really good team, and we have a shot to go really far. Our expectation is to be this really loud and fun team that just goes all-out for everything. That's going to be us—the people that's louder than other teams, the people that outworks other teams."
Stratford has shown early signs of being a force to be reckoned with in Region III. The Spartans are 6-4, with wins over Katy, Cinco Ranch and Cypress Woods.
Adcock likes to say that this year's Stratford is a pack that moves together.
"We're just good. We're developed," Andrews said. "There's no slowing down and having to explain things. We just know. We have nine returners, so we know each other, and we know how we play. We have only five new players, but they're so along in playing and practicing with us that it's not like they're strangers anymore. We're all very close, very fast, very competitive. I really enjoy that about our team."