A Program on the R.I.S.E. – Lady Vikings Volleyball Ranked Nationally

Posted on 09/29/2016

If you haven’t caught a Francis Howell High School girls’ volleyball game recently, you’re missing out on a lot. First, you’re missing a great team – they’re one of only two volleyball programs in the entire state of Missouri who are ranked nationally. But you’re also missing out on a team on the rise, both on and off the court. The Lady Vikings are excelling in the classroom, with the highest grade point average of all FHHS fall programs (an amazing 3.91 GPA), and they are making our community a better place by performing community outreach activities as well. They embody the Viking motto of R.I.S.E. – Respect, Integrity, Sportsmanship, and Excellence.

Senior Emma Witter walked onto the court that first day of practice this year to see a lot of new faces, but that wouldn’t deter the team’s success. “We lost so many seniors last year,” she said, “and I don’t think too many people expected a whole lot out of us. So to be performing this well so early is just really exciting. I think we’re just proving some people wrong and we’re excited to see where it will take us.”

FHHS VikingsThe Lady Vikings used all the new faces to create a new atmosphere. “I think that this year because everyone is so new with each other,” junior Taylor Litteken said, “we’re bonding with each other and feel as though we need to push ourselves. And since we’re all pushing ourselves individually, putting us together on a team makes us unstoppable.”

They are currently 21-1-1 (record and rankings as of 9/29/2016), ranked #2 in the state, and #62 nationally. Along the way to a recent tournament victory, the team scored wins over five state-ranked teams, and two that were nationally-ranked. Senior Lydia Frederick believes that – in addition to mutual respect and support for each other – that the team’s energy is linked to their success. “I think the key to our team this year is the energy we bring to every game,” Frederick said. “It’s easy to notice that when we’re playing down, it’s because our energy levels are down. I think a lot of the success is due to all the positive relationships on the team.”

Litteken agreed, “We just have a team of really hard workers, and we all get really pumped up and feed off each other’s energy. And when we’re really hyped up for a game, I don’t think anyone can really stop us.”

As the team’s success and support grows, so does their confidence. “The more games we play,” Frederick said, “and the more success we have, the mental aspect of the game gets easier. You start to develop that self-confidence, and that continues if you keep working hard in practice and in games.”

With the support they are getting, the Lady Vikings feel it’s imperative to give back to the community. They have already done two outreach activities, including National Night Out, where they raised a couple hundred dollars for Oasis Food Pantry, and their Dig Pink Night, where they raised one thousand dollars for breast cancer research. Frederick said, “Not only does it bring us closer together as a team, but it also shows people that we’re

not just trying to win a game or get a good record. We really want to bring everyone together as a community.”

Litteken added, “To be able to support our community makes us feel like we’re working for something, and makes us feel better about what we’re doing as a team and motivates us to say, ‘hey this isn’t just for ourselves, this isn’t just for our reputation.’ This is for things that are bigger than us.”

FHHS Activities Director Sean Erwin knows what the team means to the school. “They are a great example of what we want in our high school programs,” Erwin said. “They are always displaying respect for each other, integrity on their lives, and sportsmanship and excellence on the court.”

And all of FHSD is happy to watch them R.I.S.E.

For more pictures, check out the photo gallery of the Lady Vikings’ game on Sept. 27, 2016.



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