TAYLOR NEWTON – LADY HAWKS VOLLEYBALL
Mary Frances Winters once said, “Leadership is not loud and boastful. It is quiet and impactful. Senior Lady Hawk Volleyball player Taylor Newton assumes the latter. “Taylor is a very quiet person both on and off the court,” says Head Coach Ben Schell. “However, she always leads by example in the classroom and in the gym. Taylor is extremely hard-working and always gives 100% of herself in anything she does.”
Newton has grown up playing volleyball and is now ready to complete her senior season as a leader and impact player for the Lady Hawks. “I got involved in volleyball in elementary school by coming to the Future Lady Hawk Volleyball clinics with Coach Schell and Coach Bryan. My mother, Lisa Newton, played volleyball in school and she was the one who inspired me to tryout in middle school.” Newton has been a part of the volleyball program at the high school since she was a freshman. This is her second year with the varsity team.
Newton has a passion for volleyball. “I love playing volleyball because it’s simply fun and it can be super competitive. The game is based off of momentum and you don’t necessarily have to be the best team to win games. You just need to be the team with the most energy and hustle on the court to succeed.”
Schell says, “Taylor started off her high school career as a setter for our freshman team. As a sophomore and a junior, we were very impressed with Taylor’s defensive ability in the back row so she was moved to a defensive specialist position. This season, Taylor has been moved back to the setting position which she is slowly readapting to and has begun to thrive in that position as well. Taylor is very open to learning no matter what the position she is placed in, and the coaching staff has full confidence in her wherever she is at on the floor.”
Schell continues by saying, “Taylor will be a setter and a defensive specialist. She will be responsible for playing every second ball and also responsible for defending when she is coming out of the back row. Taylor is also one of our best servers (71 aces last season) and we expect her to play well-placed, aggressive serves to opponents to force them out of system.”
Fellow teammate and friend Bella Venegas says Newton is up for the challenge of a position change. “One of the things that I am really grateful for is that Taylor has been able to transition into a new position that our team needed and has been amazing at it. So I think that our team will be able to benefit better because we have someone that’s able to fill whatever position she needs to at any time.
Newton has accepted change quite frequently over her career. “I have played in every position except as a middle blocker during my volleyball career. This is rare because usually people stay in the same position to help better them in that spot on the court. I was a setter in middle school and in my first year of high school. Sophomore year I was the libero for JV and last year (Junior Year) I was a defensive specialist, an outside hitter, and a weak side hitter. Now I am back to being a setter for my Senior Year.”
Newton has high expectations for herself and the team. “My individual expectations for myself is to become a louder teammate and communicate better on the court. Also, to better my setting skills and to be able to set my hitters up for success.
My team expectations is to become a better defensive team seeing as this will be what helps us succeed in most games. Also, to learn to play together and be supportive of one another, rather we mess up or we do something right. In the end, my goal would also be to thrive in the post season and bring home another district title.”
Newton has developed into a silent leader over the years and a steady influence on her teammates. Venegas admits, “Taylor has always had something positive to say to me even when I probably didn’t deserve it while playing on the court. So I think in a friendship aspect of it, it’s really awesome because we both understand how each other feels when we play. We love the game, and we go all out to win. On and off the court we always have each other’s back no matter what. Being able to trust your teammate to do something on the court is a really good feeling and I believe it’s a big factor in winning.”
The bond between Venegas will be important if the Lady Hawks want to repeat as 18th District Champions. “I love playing with Bella because she is a good teammate and is always super supportive. We have bonded over our club experiences and what we have been able to bring back to LaRue County from what we have learned. Whenever the team is having a bad day, Bella is there to pick us up. Whenever I am having an off day, Bella is there to pick me up and what more could you ask for out of a teammate. Volleyball has brought us closer for sure, but I consider Bella a forever friend.”
Not only has Head Coach Ben Schell had a significant impact on Newton, Assistant Coach Kendrick Bryan has as well. “Coach Bryan has had a positive influence on me over the years in and out of the gym. He harps not only on me, but all of the team to succeed in school and that our academics come first. He has coached me since middle school and without him I don’t know where I would be in not only my volleyball career, but life as well. He has such good advice concerning any topic and he gives his all to our team which what I try to do because I have learned it from him.”
Newton understands the expectations and the makeup of the team. She says, “Our team is very young when it comes to high level playing experience, but we have been working hard in the gym all summer to better our game and personally since the first practice day I have already seen growth in so many players and also the team as a whole. We understand we might not be the tallest or best hitting team, but our determination to hustle and win will take us a long way in the season. Coach Schell constantly reminds us that we are capable of doing well this season and as long as we give our all on the court we can succeed in winning any game we want. However, it all starts with the player and their hungriness to win, but on our 2018 volleyball team I can tell that everyone wants to thrive this season and that is our plan.”