Whitlow lends a hand, earns MVP
Charles Prince, Hartselle Enquirer
The big hitters who pile up the kills usually win MVP awards in volleyball tournaments. Sometimes though, the player who sets up those big hitters for their spikes gets the deserved recognition. This past weekend Hartselle High's Sarah Whitlow was named MVP of the Madison Academy Invitational. Whitlow did not have impressive kill totals, but she did put her teammates in position to collect enough kills to power the Lady Tigers to the tourney title.
Whitlow totaled only 10 kills from her setter position in eight games of tourney. She added seven digs and served up 14 aces. She earned the tourney MVP by assisting on 139 of the Lady Tigers kills.
Whitlow was caught off guard by winning the award.
"I was surprised, very surprised," Whitlow said. "Every hitter on our team was killing the ball that day. There were so many people on the team who deserved it. Any one of our hitters could have won it, so I was totally surprised."
Whitlow, a senior who also plays varsity softball, gets a lot of satisfaction from setting up the Lady Tiger hitters.
"I love the feeling when you see your teammate get a good kill," Whitlow said. "I know I had a little bit to do with it, I was part of a score for our team."
Whitlow, who played all eight games without a substitution during the Madison tournament, feels being a setter involves less physical exertion than being a hitter.
"I don't leave the court very often," Whitlow said. "But, I don't jump as much as our hitters do. They need to rotate and get a break, I don't really need one."
Whitlow, who was named honorable mention All-State in softball in addition to playing in the state All-Star game, says she doesn't have a preferred sport.
"I can't choose a favorite sport between volleyball and softball," Whitlow said. "I'd like to play at the college level in either sport. I love them both. I guess my favorite one is the one I happen to be playing at the time."
Whitlow, has helped the Lady Tigers to a 27-4 record this season, doesn't have individual honors on her mind. She's focusing on team goals with area and region tournaments just over three weeks away.
"I know we have the talent to get to Pelham (the site of the state volleyball tournament)," Whitlow said.
"I hope if we do lose we go down playing hard. But I think we can put it all together and make to Pelham. That would be a perfect ending to my senior season."