Sophomore hitter embraces tough position

Eric Smith

Sophomore Mollie Lacy is the top middle hitter on the Washburn Lady Blues volleyball team, and according to head coach Chris Herron, she plays one of the most difficult positions on the team very well.

Lacy, as a middle hitter, has the responsibility to make blocks and kills as well as move sideways quickly to adjust to the ball and where her opponents are at.

“Mollie Lacy’s as good laterally as any player we’ve ever had here. And we had Tessa Jones who was pretty good laterally,” said Herron, who coached Jones to three All-American honors.

“[Lacy’s] just so dynamic off of one foot.”

And Herron said for her position, she has to be aware of a lot of different aspects of the game.

“There are so many things. The middle hitter is the toughest hitting position because they’ve got so many reads that they’re responsible for. And if they make a bad read, then there could be a huge whole in the block so they have the toughest job. And so I spend the most time with them as a result. And so that’s just a job you kind of got to want because it’s not easy.”

It seems she does OK at the position as she leads the team in kills (101), kills per set (2.97) and attack percentage (.462) for the 2009 season. She also leads the 2009 team in total points scored with 123.5 and is second in blocks with six for the season.

Coming to Washburn from Lincoln, Neb., Lacy is one of five active Lady Blues from the Cornhusker state. She said she knew all of her Nebraskan teammates before coming to Topeka including Courtney Wallman, who she was good friends with and now rooms with.

“She’s a tremendous athlete and she’s got lots of natural talent,” said Wallman, who is a sophomore outside hitter from Beatrice. “And she works hard in practice and she always gives it her all.

“Once she does something, she gets it right. And she works hard at it until she gets it right.”

Lacy said while she has loved her experience at Washburn and with the volleyball team, she wants the team to learn from last year.

“I’ve really enjoyed the last two years. The girls are great,” she said. “We had a kind-of disappointing season last year towards the end of the year. We had a good record but we’re disappointed with where we ended. And this year we’re just looking to be a lot more competitive at the end of the season and finish a lot better in the tournament.”

While Lacy said she is still undeclared in a major, she is thinking about applying for nursing school. She said her favorite play on the court is a “pump” which is when the setter makes a set backwards towards Lacy’s position for her to kill.

When it comes to volleyball, Lacy is all business and is always trying to improve all aspects of her game including blocking, which she said she’s not as good at as she’d like to be.

“We have our times when we look really good, and then there’s times when it’s like we have a lot to improve on,” she said. “Like we still have a long ways to go as a team and as individuals. Like we make too many errors at crucial times in a game. If we’re playing a really good team, those errors can’t happen. Otherwise we’re not going to be able to win.

“Our conference is going to be a big test in the season. The MIAA is always really good and we’re expecting that. And we’re looking to really step up our game and improve as a team.”