On Thursday the Philip Barbour High School volleyball team will head to Charleston for the 2012 State Tournament. This is the 11th year in a row the Lady Colts will play for a title at the Civic Center. Philip Barbour got to this point with help from this week's MVB MVP, junior Nikki Shriver.
"Players don't come along a lot that are as strong as what she is," explained Philip Barbour Head Coach Heather Halfin. "Even as a freshman, this is her third year starting, lettered all three years and on a program as successful as ours, that's quite an accomplishment. Smart, knows where to place the ball, not just a hard, strong hitter but smart, covers a lot of the court."
Shriver is a middle hitter and blocker with hundreds of kills this season. Coach Halfin said Shriver is approaching 1,000 career kills. It's Nikki's favorite place on the volleyball court and it's where she dominates.
"I block a lot there so I like the middle because you can block different places and get more blocks," said Shriver. "You can swing either way from the middle and there's more holes."
Shriver is a good blocker and intense hitter but that may be an understatement. She jumps high and slams the ball to the floor before the opposing team can even blink.
"You know the other day in Regionals she has around 30-some kills in the two games," said Coach Halfin. "So that is obviously a lot of our success, you know, falls on her shoulders. We've got a lot of girls that have had to step up this year and so that's good for her in a way because then she doesn't feel like she has to carry everybody. Just a huge, huge part obviously, strong as an ox and you don't get that a lot."
Shriver also makes an impact on the back row even though this is the first season she's played the whole court. She said she's been working on each and every part of her game and it's paying off.
"I'm more aware of the floor," commented Shriver. "This was my first year playing back row all the way around so it was a little nerve racking this year too but I've really become more aware of the floor and reading hitters more."
Coach Halfin said she expects her team to play with confidence in Charleston and do what they've been doing all season. It's Shriver's third trip to States so the jitters are gone and it's time to bring home a trophy.
"It's a great accomplishment," said Shriver. "We've been there 11 years straight but it would be better to win this year and actually get a state title again."