Poll a group of volleyball coaches and ask them which position on the court is the most difficult and chances are they will say the setter.
The setter has to have impeccable timing, athleticism, and the ability to thrive in pressure packed situations. Ella Kate Tankersley fits that description for the Murray Lady Indians, who are off to 6-6, 3-3 start. The 5’7” junior is the heart and soul of a team comprised of players with mixed levels of experience which Tankersley hopes to help lead to the playoffs.
“Ella Kate is an excellent player,” said head coach David Anthony. “She is a continuous uplifting personality in practice and games. To this day I have never heard her utter a complaint. This is the first year Murray has been able to run a 5-1, and it’s because of everything she brings to the table athletically, mentally, and developmentally.”
What sets Tankersley apart is her willingness to commit to what she believes in, both on and off the court, Anthony said.
“She works hard every day in practice,” Anthony said. “She has made several comebacks through serving this year and last year. She is one of the toughest. She is also a committed Christian with a driven character mindset. We are extremely grateful for her hard work this year.”
Tankersley picked up the volleyball in the third grade and has been passionate about it ever since, she said.
“Ever since then I have played,” Tankersley said. “I love it.”
Tankersley said the bond she has made with her teammates keeps her interested in volleyball.
“You bond with so many people and make memories that will last for a lifetime,” said Tankersley, who also plays tennis for Murray.
Tankersley and her teammates have grown really close, she said, and attributes a decent start to the team’s ability to mesh well with each other.
“Everybody has such a good attitude,” she said. “There’s no drama or anything on the team.”
Tankersley understands both the difficulty and importance of her role on the team and works to improve every match.
“You have to be a leader and always talking on the court,” she said. “It’s your job to set up the hitters to score points. It’s kind of like the quarterback on a football team.”
In order to prepare herself for the game, Tankersley spends time before each contest by clearing her mind and mentally preparing herself for the action ahead. It’s a process that helps her along in a very tough region.
“It’s going to be a very big region tournament,” she said. “There’s a lot of competition, but I think that we’ll pull through and do very well.”