Despite not playing the sport since middle school, Olivia Mottern has been a big contributor for Southern Fulton's girls volleyball team this season. Video by Lizi Arbogast
Olivia Mottern is no stranger to the basketball court.
But up until this year, the Southern Fulton senior was a bit of a stranger to the volleyball court.
Although she played the sport in middle school, Mottern hasn't donned an Indian volleyball jersey again until this season.
"This year, since my basketball AAU season is basically over, I decided I wanted to come back," Mottern said. "I have a lot of friends on the team, and I wanted to work on my jumping a lot this year for basketball. I just missed it a lot and wanted to come back and play."
Mottern is a star basketball player for the Indians, already surpassing 1,000 points for her career in just three years. She has also played softball and ran cross country, but is now limited to just two sports. Her first love remains basketball, but she knows how much the game of volleyball can help her improve.
"It's helped me a lot with my jumping and my quick foot speed," Mottern said. "I've also noticed whenever we've gone up to Altoona for recent games, I am feeling a lot better with my jumping. I do get higher, and I'm getting more rebounds. I am getting that quicker first step on my defender, which is really good."
Playing for the Mid-Penn Motion, Mottern's fall season has usually been too busy for volleyball. But this season, she's returned as a middle hitter.
It hasn't been easy for Mottern to pick back up the sport after a five-year hiatus. She attended every open gym SF coach Ben Arnold had to offer this summer, and she said the hardest part is getting used to the timing of real game situations.
But she's had quite a bit of support.
"Sierra (Lashley) actually plays the same position as I do, and she's done a really good job about helping me out," Mottern said. "Also, Madi Breeze and Drew Gordon have done a tremendous job as well, and even Morgan Fitz and Destini (Swisher). They've all taken me under their wing, helping me with my passing and serving and everything to help me get better."
Mottern has been a big contributor for the Indians this season, earning one of the top spots in kills in almost every match this season.
Although she likely won't continue with the sport past high school, Mottern said it was nice to feel a part of the team.
"We all do really work together as a team," she said. "Sometimes we have hard times on the court, but off the court, we are all really good friends and we get along really well. I really do love that."