Lindy Dyer had a clear-cut set of goals entering the 2009 girls volleyball season.
Make varsity. Check. Become a starter. Check.
Win a state title. Championship.
This past season as a member of the Valley Christian girls volleyball team, Dyer, the Trojans’ only Ahwatukee Foothills resident and lone varsity freshman, proved herself not only a key contributor to a championship team, but also wise beyond her years in some respects, too.
Case in point: playing on the same team as arguably the best prep volleyball player in the state in University of Florida-bound Chanel Brown, Dyer admits that she tried be a sponge, soaking up as much as she could from Brown and her other experienced teammates.
“They were a great group of girls. They helped me become way more confident in myself,” Dyer said. “(Brown is) very humble, and she’s kind of like an older sister to me. I became a lot better – she helped me out a lot.
“Best volleyball player I’ve ever met.”
By the time the state tournament came to a head, as Brown was putting opponents away on the outside, it was the steady hand of Dyer from the service line that helped key the Trojans through a tough Class 2A state tournament bracket.
“By the end of the season her serve got tougher and tougher and tougher. And she didn’t make any errors,” said former Valley Christian coach Molly Stark, who stepped down earlier this month to devote more attention to her club volleyball program after coaching the Trojans to the title. “That’s such a tough thing to do as a freshman … to not succumb to that pressure.”
The Trojans eventually knocked off local rival Horizon Honors in a thrilling five-game state semifinal match before cruising past Thatcher, 3-1, in the state title match.
Dyer said consistently playing up a level or two throughout her development has helped – making the thought of playing varsity as a freshman no different.
“I’ve always been the youngest on my team, because I always play up. That’s always made me play harder,” she said, adding that being welcomed with open arms by the older girls helped to ease her mind a bit. “They all brought me in right away and we became very close friends.”
As the Trojans embark on a state title defense next season, Dyer is well aware that a handful of key components – her coach, Stark, as well as Brown and four other season – will have moved on. But Stark said the experience each returning player will bring to next year’s team, not to mention what Dyer can bring to the table for Valley Christian for the next three seasons having already won a state title, is immeasurable.
“Not many people can say they’ve won a state championship,” Stark said. “She’s done it. She’s tasted it at this point. She knows what it’s like. It’s going to be great for her, and great for her being a leader next year.”
Dyer added: “We are losing five of our seniors, so we’re going to have a lot of new people. But we’re going to go out there and prove that we were and are the best, and that we won it for a reason.”