Senior volleyball players succeeding despite shortcomings - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Sports

Senior volleyball players succeeding despite shortcomings

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Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 3:00 pm | Updated: 10:57 am, Fri Mar 16, 2012.

Paul Rogers and David Weaver probably have no business doing what they do on the volleyball court.

It is a sport dominated by big men who have played for years at the club and high school levels.

It’s all about court awareness, a feel for the game, and the ability to smash the ball through the defense in front of them.

Rogers, a senior at Desert Vista, and Weaver, a senior at Mountain Pointe, in one way or another don’t fit the profile.

It hasn’t stopped them by any means from being important contributors to their respective programs.

Weaver has a good portion of the profile down pat as he started playing the game the summer before his freshman year. He has developed over the years, picked up on the nuances of the game and developed into one of the Pride’s most important players.

He even brings the power part of the game needed to be a successful outside hitter, but he does it all from a 5-foot-9 frame.

“He is an impressive player that you have to plan for,” Desert Vista coach Ryan Tolman said. “He is all over the court, one of their leaders, and obviously he can jump.”

Ah, the jump. Those legs of his counteract any disadvantage his short volleyball stature might bring.

Last he measured, he had a vertical leap of 41 inches, but that was a couple of years ago. Weaver believes it might be closer to 45 now. Watching him in action makes you think it is closer to 50 just because of the tall timbers that he is often blasting through.

“It is something I have always had, but then I started working on it and I really started to get some height to it,” Weaver said. “I love going up against guys who kind of look down on me and think I can’t do it.”

Chances are by the end of the match, the opposition has a new found respect for him.

“The timing is a little different (against shorter hitters for blockers), but (blockers) could be in the right spot and it doesn’t matter,” Tolman said. “When any top hitter is going good, it is hard to stop regardless of positioning.”

Rogers is a different story as a late-comer to the game. He was prodded by other players to come out for the sport for years, but never did anything about it until his junior year when he decided to tryout and see what he could do.

Rogers clearly did not have the usual court awareness that comes natural to veteran players, but Tolman saw enough to keep him around.

“He was just learning the littlest things at the beginning — as simple as where to stand, but he is an athletic kid,” Tolman said. “We don’t put many juniors on JV so we kept him (on varsity) and he played maybe two points all year, but he worked his tail off to get a better feel for the game every day.”

A year later, Rogers is in the starting lineup as the libero. It is one of the most important positions. He receives the opposition’s serve and if it is off the offense can’t get started smoothly.

“I love it and everyday I wonder where I’d be if I had started earlier,” he said. “I can’t do anything about it so I work as hard as I can to get better every day I have now.”

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or jskoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.

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Jason P. Skoda
  • Jason P. Skoda
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  • Resident sports writer at the Ahwatukee Foothills News

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