In a week that contained both dominating sweeps and humbling losses, two things remained constant for the North Hall volleyball team: Melissa DeVerter and Autumn Tucker had their way at the net.
Over the course of the week of Sept. 18, Class AAA’s No. 1-ranked Lady Trojans went 11-2 (the two losses coming to two top teams in Kentucky), and leading the way were DeVerter with 22 blocks and 86 kills and Tucker with 79 kills and 68 digs.
For their efforts, the two North Hall seniors have been named the AccessWDUN co-Athletes of the Week presented by Coca-Cola United.
“(Melissa and Autumn) know that they’re our go-to players,” said North Hall coach Emi Hughes. “They’re a huge part of what we do and they’re confident in their abilities. They’re lights out at the net.”
In sweeps of Dawson County and Chestatee, DeVerter and Tucker combined for 33 kills, 26 digs and four blocks. They followed up that performance, in sweeps of Hebron Christian and Jefferson, with 33 kills, 13 digs and 13 blocks (all from DeVerter).
“The feeling you get from the block is why you go for it,” said DeVerter. “It shuts the other team down and brings the momentum to your side.”
Hughes is quick to say that while the two work in tandem to build a pseudo wall at the net, DeVerter and Tucker go about it two different ways. DeVerter is laid back, but fierce, while Tucker is more demonstrative about her competitiveness.
“Melissa is fluid and she doesn’t show nerves or get rattled,” said Hughes. “(Playing the game) is so much fun for her and it translates to her play on the court. Autumn is super competitive and driven by playing at a high level. She knows when to bring it and her competitiveness shows all the time.”
On the back end of a week of great performances was a journey to Kentucky to participate in the Kentucky Challenge. DeVerter said the teams North Hall faced were all good and that a different brand of volleyball was played in Kentucky that would prepare them for what the team would face should another run at a state title be in their future.
It was in Kentucky that the Lady Trojans saw their 19-match win streak snapped though, despite the monster numbers put up by their duo at the net (DeVerter and Tucker combined for 99 kills, 37 digs and six blocks over the course of the five-match tournament).
“It was good to get beaten,” said Tucker, “because now we can fix what’s wrong, we know that we still have work to do to be who we want to be. Yes, we had a 19-game win streak snapped and we weren’t happy about it, but it was also worth it.”