Paschal named WDN’s Volleyball Player of the Year

Published 11:33 am Saturday, November 22, 2008

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
WILLIAMSTON — A quick word association test. (Relax, you don’t need to study.)
Katie Paschal: Basketball.
Williamston basketball: Katie Paschal.
Correct again.
Williamston volleyball: Umm, Katie Paschal?
You are correct, sir.
While her name doesn’t jump right out at you when you mention Tigers’ volleyball, if she has another season like this one, it just might.
Dominating on the hardwood is nothing new to Paschal. But doing it with a smooth little white Wilson instead of a big orange one with grooves in it? Now that is a little different.
The ball may differ but the results don’t, when Paschal steps on the court, no matter which ball is being used, she has the ability to take over a game.
In her first full year on the varsity team, Paschal led the Tigers with 150 service points, 120 kills, and racked up 50 blocks and 40 digs. She also guided them to an Atlantic Conference regular season title and helped them advance to the second round of the playoffs.
That effort has also led her to be named the Washington Daily News Volleyball Player of the Year.
Last year Paschal, a middle hitter, was stuck behind the 2007 WDN Volleyball Player of the Year Presley Roberson, as well as senior Courtney Bowen, so she remained on the JV squad until their season ended.
In 2008, Paschal made the most of her first real opportunity to play and continued to carry on Williamston volleyball’s tradition of excellence.
Paschal, who is known for her court awareness in both sports, admits she did not see this coming.
While Paschal may have been surprised at her success, her coach Herbie Rodgers wasn’t.
Paschal’s stardom should not be so shocking. A lot of the same skills that allow a basketball player to excel, translate very well to the game of volleyball.
Good agility, fast reflexes, a solid vertical leap, hand-eye coordination and anticipation are all vital skills of a good volleyball or basketball player.
Those same skills have already earned her a basketball scholarship offer from East Carolina, and heavy interest from North Carolina and Wake Forest.
Paschal said she will wait until after the 2008-09 season until she makes her decision on where she wants to go.
This summer, Paschal played basketball for Boo Williams’ AAU team, which placed second in the nation, and she said that, that experience helped prepare her for volleyball season.
A summer’s worth of running up and down the court paid off for Paschal, as she worked her self into fantastic shape, and entered the 2008 season with a noticeable increase in her vertical leap.
The improved ability to jump helped her soar to new heights on the volleyball court and allowed her to unleash a powerful spike which became a staple of the Tigers’ offense.
Like the dunk in basketball, the spike is the first thing the crowd notices, but Rodgers said Paschal is much more than just a spiker.
Rodgers knows that given a choice between the little white ball, and the big orange one with grooves in it, that Paschal will always use her lateral quickness to shuffle towards the orange one, but said that if that ever changes, her potential is endless.