Deep Dive into Digging

How Oakton’s libero views volleyball as a cougar

Oakton’s volleyball team is a competitive and valued program here at Oakton Highschool. It is a great way to get involved and nonetheless they are a talented group, winning their first 4 games of the season, but what goes into having a winning team? What do the players’ backstories look like? 

Kaelyn Anson is a senior and they started CYA volleyball in 6th grade to “play a sport and get involved.” They always looked up to Victoria Garrick, a former division one athlete with a campaign “#RealPost” which advocates for mental health. 

Kaelyn is known for bringing the energy on the court. They say, “The more energy you bring the more it will show in our play making.” A winning team isn’t just about fit technical players, but mentally ready individuals that are well connected on the court. For Oakton, that starts with Kaelyn and the rest of the girls supporting one another in various ways. 

Of course the atmosphere you build up during the match isn’t the only preparation for success. Everything and anything you tell yourself before a game will affect your playing. In Fact some experts say the car ride to the game is the most important aspect to your triumph. A pre-game ritual Kaelyn and the team share is a team dinner in the cafeteria. “Liv goes around with a microphone and asks how everyone’s feeling and how their days have been.” They say it’s a great way to bring everyone together and have a laugh. 

Every athlete knows after a harsh game or practice it is critical to recover within the short period of time you have. Physically, Kaelyn makes sure they drink lots of water, eat little snacks, rest their body, and “ices up.” Mentally, Kaelyn tells themselves’ ‘I can’t blame myself for a loss or bad practice.” A couple of mistakes don’t define my hard work and the time I put into improving.” Words of encouragement can truly go a long way if you believe in what you’re saying. At the end of the day no foam roller or Ice bath will replenish you with the confidence you need to reenter the court. 

Having a winning mentality allows you to look at challenges as opportunities, and success as a step towards more success. For Kaelyn, a winning mentality is “a fun energetic attitude.” As the libero, they communicate the most on the court and you will always find Kaelyn hyping the team up no matter what. “Making mistakes is okay and isn’t the end of the world. A lot of my teammates sometimes forget that so I remind them to take the pressure off.” 

The game that stuck out for Kaelyn the most was the W & C game which was the first win in 6 years against that team. They are most looking forward to the Chantilly game since Oakton has yet to beat them in Kaelyn’s 4 years as a cougar. Despite Oakton only beating them 1-2 times within 20 years, Kaelyn is determined to secure a win this season. Stating “It’s Oakton’s year.” Kaelyn is very excited for the “dig pink” theme during breast cancer awareness month. “We raise money to help with the research while playing a game that’s tons of fun with so much energy and intensity.” The team goes all out, from wearing pink tutus to pink hair extensions. 

Oakton’s long list of accomplishments starts from each player physically and mentally checking themselves. Like Kaelyn, the team cuts out the rest of their lives and solely focuses on the game and practice about to be played. The preparation that goes towards being a winning team is just as important as playing the game itself. Thank you Kaelyn and thank you Oakton volleyball!