James Buchanan's girls volleyball team has been through a season of ups and downs.
The Rockets seem to win one, then lose one, then win one, then lose the next. But this week, James Buchanan picked up two straight victories for the first time this season, due in large part to senior leader Erica Eberly. She is the Public Opinion Female Athlete of the Week.
"This week was a huge, huge confidence builder for the team," JB coach Tonya Miller said. "It's really good to see that now my girls at practice are talking about going to districts and how many wins we would need. I never heard any of those kinds of conversations until we got these last couple victories."
Eberly, a Rocket captain, had a big hand in both of JB's wins. In a five-set win over Big Spring, Eberly contributed 13 kills and 12 digs, and against West Perry, she contributed nine kills, 15 digs and six aces.
One of the best things about Eberly is how she can be a good all-around player. It's not unusual to see her as one of the Rockets' leaders in kills and a leader in digs.
"I think it's very important to be well-rounded," Eberly said. "If you're good at one position, that's good, but when you're good at everything, you're really benefitting your team that much more."
Eberly is an outside hitter, and this season, she has been working more on mixing up her kills and adding in tips and dinks.
"I've noticed that when a team knows I'm on, they always set up for the big hit," Eberly said. "I know that rolling it over the block or dinking it to a different position, that can score easy points."
Miller said, "I've seen her become a stronger player this season. At the beginning, she was hit or miss with her attack. She was always going as hard as she could, but it had to be a perfect set. Now, she has learned to adjust and look at the whole court. She's mixing it up and hitting the open spots."
Eberly said her goal for this season is to make it to playoffs because it could be her last shot. Although she plans to go to college for physical therapy, she may not continue her volleyball career past high school.
"I'd love to play, but I don't want to let volleyball determine where I go for school," Eberly said.
Sport: Girls volleyball
Position: Outside hitter
Parents: Keith and Tonya Eberly
Other interests: Erica likes to go hunting and enjoys hanging out with friends.
Surprising fact: She has three step brothers.
Favorite team: North Carolina Tarheels
Athlete most admired: Micha Hancock
Statistics: Eberly helped the Rockets to back-to-back victories for the first time this season ... She had 13 kills and 12 digs in a five-set win over Big Spring and added 9 kills, 15 digs and 6 aces against West Perry.