Senior Bailee Jones is off to a terrific start for the Braves volley team and currently leads the team with an astounding 374 assists. The stellar starting setter from Trinidad, CO registered a season high as well as set a career best is assist in a match against Coker College with 55 (9/01/2018). She also recorded a season high 20 digs in that very same match. PN file photo/Trevon Knight
It’s one thing for an athlete to start for their team, it is a whole other accomplishment to excel in the field of play of their respective sport at their particular position and in their specialized discipline. Through the first month and a half of the season senior Bailee Jones and junior Anna Heinz have put up astounding stats for the UNCP volleyball team as they both lead the Braves in categories that set their teammates up for success by landslide margins.
Jones is the starting setter and she leads the team in assists with by a substantial margin and Heinz is the starting libero and has accounted for 209 digs. The two team captains are not just two of the top performers on the court but also serve as key leaders of this year’s team.
In volleyball the roll of a setter is similar to that of a quarterback in football. Their primary responsibility in the offensive scheme is to give their scorers on the outside opportunities to put up points and put them in the best positions to succeed.
Jones has been masterful in orchestrating scoring plays for the Braves this season with her best game coming on Sept. 1 against Coker, where she set a career high in assists and accounted for all but two of the team’s assists in the match with 55.
The Braves typically utilize two setters to split the load but due to injuries and illnesses early in the season, Jones has had to be leaned on heavily and will continue to be until the team can get some of their other setters back into the lineups.
“We should be having our other setters back soon so it’ll be interesting to see how they come and compete in practice and see if they earn their way back onto the court but Bailee has definitely been dominating and that senior leadership that she brings out there and that confidence and just her experience out there in general,” said Assistant Coach Katie Rueffer.
Junior Anna Heinz is has been excelling in running the back court as the libero for the UNCP volleyball team this season, and currently holds the team lead in digs with 209. The Salemburg, N.C. native and two-time team captain registered a season high 26 digs against St. Andrews (9/08/2018). PN file photo/Trevon Knight
After being named a captain as a sophomore Heinz has been the quarterback of the Black and Gold’s back row junior season as the team’s starting libero.
The libero’s role is to keep the ball in play and prevent kills as well as service aces with digs. They are often the ones usually seen diving for the ball and sliding across the court. Her best game of the year so far came against the Knights of St. Andrews on Sept. 8 when she registered 26 digs.
“She expects a lot out of her teammates and she’s very vocal and that’s something that we need out of a libero. She has to be a ballhawk out there, that’s her position,” said Rueffer.
Rueffer points to their experience and their capabilities as leaders as to why they are both effective and vocal on the court.
“The team looks to them a lot defensively and offensively but just in the leadership aspect the team looks to them…They’re always the first people to communicate and they’re just the leaders out there,” said Rueffer.