Alex Laboy’s introduction to varsity volleyball at Avon High School was different than perhaps many of her other teammates.
After spending the majority of her first regular season with the Eagles on the JV team, she was called up to varsity at the last minute for playoff action in 2016 after a starter got a concussion. Against Amherst, Laboy helped guide the Eagles to a Sectional final win in three sets. Avon went on to lose to St. Joseph Academy in three sets in the District final that year.
“I was actually really nervous because I was just a freshman,” Laboy said. “It was really exciting for me. I started (playing volleyball) when I was 7, (so) I was used to playing at that high competitive level at a young age. I was nervous at first, but right when I got into it, I was totally relaxed and I felt comfortable.”
Harking back to last season, Laboy said one of her fondest memories during her time with Avon was when Katie Sopko, a senior last year, dressed up as one of the team’s assistant coaches. This kind of camaraderie among the players and coaches is something Laboy has seen often in her time with varisty and she said it goes a long way toward the success they have on the court.
“That’s all we know,” she said. “We know how to have fun, but we also know when to focus up and get serious when we need to. We have fun on the court, too. It’s not all about volleyball all the time. You’ve gotta have fun with it.”
Having already spent two full seasons with the varsity team, Laboy is used to how things are done at Avon. Getting to that point, though, she said she’s learned a lot along the way.
“I think I’ve greatly improved on my defense and communication,” Laboy said. “I’ve gotta be talking to my hitters all the time and my defense all the time and always saying something so that everyone knows what they’re doing and knows where they’re going. Even just supporting the girls and giving feedback.”
For a team with eight straight appearances in the State tournament – four straight trips to either the District semi-final or the District final – the expectation of winning hasn’t changed for Avon. Laboy, though, hopes to supplement that winning with personal growth and setting a good example for the underclassmen.
“I always try to set the bar higher each year and find something that I can change each year or get better at,” Laboy said. “I want to make sure we get the freshmen used to how we do things and kind of get them comfortable at least because they’re completely new and they don’t know how we do anything.
“I’m not sure on how many digs (or other stats) I have, but I’m going to set a little mark that I can (aim for) and try to reach a certain amount,” she added. “Improve on all areas of the game that I focus on like serve-receive, defense and serving.”
Now, entering her senior season as a libero, Laboy is one of five seniors tasked with taking over for last year’s six-player graduating class that led Avon to the District semi-final.
“We’re going to have to make adjustments and fill a lot of front-row places,” Laboy said. “Most of the people who graduated were all front row. Our teammates and I are going to show the underclassmen our work ethics and how we play together as a team. I’m excited. It’s going to be fun this year.”
Contact this reporter at email@example.com or 440-871-5797.