I once read a quote that says, “Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example.” This quote correlates with who Senior Volleyball and Tennis player Holly Yingling is. She has been a model student-athlete throughout her four years at LCHS.
Yingling enters her final year with the Lady Hawks Volleyball program. She will play the role of the libero which is the rearmost, roaming defensive player on the court. A role she takes very seriously.
Yingling comments on her expectations for herself this season. “I’m not ever satisfied with just maintaining the status quo because that never improves performance or outcomes whether that is individually or as a team. As the libero, I need to be the best defensive player, and as a senior, I need to be a good leader for my fellow teammates and classmates. I expect our team to communicate well, both on and off the court. Good camaraderie leads to good team chemistry, which is highly important for success. I believe we have that this year, and that will help us accomplish more during the season and when we get to the district tournament.”
First-year head coach Molly Howell has nothing but high praise for the senior. “Holly is a respectful, kind, helpful, motivated, and an all-around great girl. She constantly maintains a hard work ethic – you will never catch her not giving her best effort. She will serve as a team captain and libero. I expect her to reach the goals she has set for herself and for the team, which is growth and success. With a work ethic like hers, it would be almost impossible for her not to. She seeks help and extra reps constantly to try and improve her game. With her on the court, I don’t expect any ball to hit the floor on defense without her body going after it. She’s a magnet to the ball and has a true gift of reading each play and I only see that becoming a greater strength of hers as the season progresses.”
Yingling’s passion for volleyball began a long way away from Hodgenville, Kentucky. “I began playing volleyball in the fourth grade. We lived in Alaska at the time, and my sisters (Tessa and Allyson) were also playing both club and high school volleyball. We spent a lot of time at each other’s games, and that’s when I really fell in love with the sport.”
Yingling adds, “My biggest volleyball influence is my older sister, Tessa. Her passion for the game inspires me. Over the years, I’ve often looked to her for advice (and still do) on how to better my game. Even from afar, she continues to challenge me to play harder. She has shown me by example, that mind-set and discipline are keys to winning, and that any losses experienced present more opportunities to learn and improve.”
That influence from her older sister has been transferred to the volleyball court in practice and games. Howell says, “Holly serves an amazing leader – there truly is no practice that I don’t see her helping a younger player. Not only will she take them to the side to work with them one-on-one but she also encourages them through it. She is dedicated to leading the team by example. She doesn’t have a seniority type attitude, meaning she is early to almost every practice, putting the net up, shagging balls, cheering on the girls, doing extra reps, etc. Not to mention the positive attitude she maintains through it all.”
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Yingling is her interest in martial arts. “ love martial arts. It’s not only fun but also physically and mentally demanding. There is much that can be learned in the discipline and respect that is found within the various fighting styles that is applicable to both sport and life. I have been learning some Jiu-Jitsu with my dad over the years and have also tried a little kickboxing.”
The attitude and unassuming presence are what is most impressive by coaches. Tennis coach Terry Caven echoes the sentiments from Howell. “Holly is a versatile athlete who has taken a strong dose of competitiveness. She is also an athlete who uses her influence in a positive way with peers and teachers. Holly represents herself, her family, and her school well because of her will to compete as well as the demeanor in which she competes. She will be able to achieve many great things moving forward and will ultimately have plenty of successes to celebrate.”
Former assistant volleyball coach Kendrick Bryan, “Holly is a great teammate because she wants to win and she wants her team to have success. She also excels in the classroom. Holly cares about the details in practices and matches, and she is always willing to talk to the team during a timeout.”