From ‘I’ team to ‘It’ team: Alex Smith, volleyball player spotlight

Seniors Katelyn Jackson, Reese Johnson, Haley Odell, Lindsay Koppel, Kiele Miller, Karen Crews, and Alex Smith

photo by Taylor Arvidson

Written by Giselle Galletti

Volleyball is a pretty big deal here in Drip, and Coach Kane has led his girls to do some pretty great things, including a recent undefeated district season.  The players are as tight as a family and are always there to push each other harder and harder.  It’s a lifestyle, a time commitment, and a thing like no other.  

Alex Smith is a senior here at Dripping Springs High School, and she just signed on to play volleyball as an outside/right side hitter for Schreiner University under the leadership of Coach Howard Wallace.  She’s practically already a Mountaineer and hasn’t even graduated yet.

“[I’m most excited] just to be a part of [the] collegiate volleyball level,” Smith said. “That’s always been my dream, to play for a college.  And it finally came true. I started in 6th grade, and I fell in love with it.”

Smith was a first-time varsity player this past season.  She started from the beginning and helped the Tigers to win multiple district titles under the leadership of Coach Kane.

“I’m gonna miss Coach Kane yelling at me,” Smith said.  “I mean that might sound weird, but I’m gonna miss him just yelling at me on the court to do better and to make my blocking better.”

Now, she didn’t get where she is today without hard work and sticking to it; Smith has always worked as hard as it took to achieve her goals.  

“Well, see back in middle school, 7th and 8th grade, I made the ‘I’ team, which is the improvement team,” Smith said.  “During the summer, I went to volleyball camps between 8th and 9th grade and just kept working and I made the freshman team that next school year.  That was great; that was a big accomplishment for me, ‘cause I didn’t think I’d make it.”

Now she’s going to be playing college volleyball, and Smith could not be more excited and proud of herself.

“It’s been really hard [to get where I am now]. It takes constant hard work, and you have to keep working hard every single day in practice, and also just believing that you can do it,” Smith said.

That hard work doesn’t just end after practice.  Having played club volleyball for six years, she has gained additional valuable experience.

“[I spend] about four days a week, outside of school, practicing,” Smith said.

She has balanced volleyball and school work so well that the school is also giving her an academic scholarship along with asking her to play for them.  Smith is majoring in communication and graphic design.

“People kept telling me I wouldn’t make it, but look where I am now,” Smith said.

When asked what she would tell other kids who are experiencing the same struggles that she did, her response was very straightforward:

“To never give up.  ‘Cause I wanted to back in middle school, cause I made ‘I’ team, and then I just didn’t [give up] ‘cause I fell in love with the sport.  So what I would tell them is to keep going at it and always work hard and don’t give up on what you love,” Smith said.

She wasn’t alone on this journey, and had many, many supporters.

“My whole entire family [has been there to help me], all my friends, and especially Coach Kane,” Smith said. “He’s been there throughout most of it. When I graduate, it’s going to be pretty sad. I mean, I’m going to be away from everyone, and all my family and friends; I’ll have to make new ones.  Oh man, I don’t want to think about it.  But I’ll have the volleyball team there at Schreiner, and they’re pretty cool.”

Expressing her thanks to these people for continually pushing her, even when she didn’t want to, was very important to Smith.

“I want to thank the volleyball program, all of the assistant coaches, and Coach Kane.  I want to thank all of my family and friends who have been there for me and supported me,” Smith said.

Smith is very excited to be starting the next chapter in her life, because of volleyball, something that she truly loves.  All of Dripping Springs High School is right behind her, with as much support as she needs.

“It’s been the best experience of my life,” Smith said. “If I didn’t have volleyball, I don’t know where I’d be right now.”



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