Andrew Gott is a rarity in boys volleyball.
In a sport filled with dominant, towering offensive forces, the Desert Vista senior outside hitter does it all as one of the shortest players on the court.
"He is probably the most unassuming 5-8 volleyball player you'll ever meet," Desert Vista coach Ryan Tolman said. "I've been around this sport a long time and I have not seen many players who weren't setters dominate at that height. It is not a small man sport."
It's clear that the Thunder do not hesitate to go to their little big man as he leads the team in kills. Through 23 games (eight matches) Gott has 79 kills with an impressive 52 percent kill rate.
"I can't say enough about the kid," fellow senior Sean Coffinger said. "He does things 7-footers can't do. It's his technique, his love of the game and his desire to win."
Gott, who was second on the team with 225 kills last season, takes the success in stride while trying not to think about hitting against blockers who can be eight or more inches taller than him.
"When I'm at the top of my jump we are about the same height so it doesn't matter," he said. "I can hit around them or through them if I have to."
Tolman believes the team gets an added boost when Gott is doing most of the damage offensively.
"We are not only getting points, but we are winning the mental side of it too," Tolman said. "It's probably frustrating losing to us when he is the one who killed him. They don't like being beat by the little guy."
Gott's success rate has to due with his technique but what really gets him by is his vertical leap, which he believes is about 32 inches.
He improved it after his sophomore year by playing a lot of sand volleyball and then did some plyometrics - jump training - to increase it even more. Gott estimates that was about eight inches.
"It made a real difference in my game," he said. "I started to get better at hitting once my vertical increased."
Tolman said that his senior is playing even better than he thought possible.
"Ever since he stepped on campus as a freshman he has surprised me," Tolman said. "Even this year with the high expectations I have for him, he still surprises me.
"He is a really polished player and if you wanted to teach someone volleyball just put in a tape of his technique. He has great form and brings the energy needed to help the whole team."
Gott knows that his size, regardless of how dominant he might be, will keep the recruiters away. He plans on attending Scottsdale Community College before making his way to USC to study film.
"I'm going to try and play in college, but I won't be too disappointed if I don't," he said. "I'm just worried about us finishing this season strong and playing as long as we can into the postseason."
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