Hopping into the Number One Position


Sean Brunner, Writer

I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN. I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN. These were chants that were heard last year at the Bob Jones vs. James Clemens volleyball game. Little did we know that the future #1 volleyball player in the state of Alabama was on the opposing team or that she would transfer BACK to Bob Jones.

Bob Jones’s Haley Hop was a freshman when she was at Bob Jones 3 years ago, but then James Clemens was built and she left Bob Jones for the other school.

“There’s definitely a bigger target on my back since the rankings came out. It puts the pressure on me to work hard to live up to the expectation of that ranking…  The thing is, the ranking means absolutely nothing if I don’t play like it. If anything, it makes me want to work harder. I want to prove to everyone that I deserve the ranking. Sometimes, being considered one of the best players does nothing but make people want to outplay you and shut you down as much as possible, and I have to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

The number one ranking also comes with increased leadership demands.  “I think one of the biggest pressures is when it comes to tight games and the team looks at you to be the calming force. You’re expected to get the job done and score points under pressure and that can be hard to conquer.”

When asked about the chance of winning a back-to-back state title at Bob Jones, she said it was very likely to happen. Haley said, “With us being ranked number one preseason, there’s obviously a good chance of Bob Jones repeating. We have a solid team with all high-level players, and if we stay focused on our common goal, we easily have the potential to win. We can’t underestimate any of our rivals; everyone wants to beat us this year.”

Volleyball is not just a one-man sport; it’s a team sport.  “Volleyball is a team sport and you really can’t be successful on a high level without strong players in every position. Our setter, Erin Shockey, is the equivalent to the quarterback of the team, and without her, it wouldn’t be possible to be a successful hitter. And our libero, Melaina Hissam, is easily one of the best defensive players in the state, and it’s a position that doesn’t get nearly as much glory as it deserves.”

When asked about the likelihood of continuing her career on a collegiate level, she responded, “I definitely hope to continue my volleyball career in college. It’s been my dream since I was nine years old. Right now, I have talked to a couple schools, but I am not close to committing anywhere.”

At Bob Jones, we’re just glad that Haley is graduating as a Bob Jones Patriot.