Ange is area’s best

Published 1:38 pm Thursday, November 24, 2011

Riverside setter Peri Ange (fourth from left) celebrates with her teammates after beating Camden for the NCHSAA 1-A the sectional title. Ange was named the Washington Daily News Player Volleyball Player of the Year. (WDN Photo/Brian Haines)

WILLIAMSTON — In a sport filled with giants, the 5-foot-4-inch Peri Ange stood the tallest. The Riverside setter may have a diminutive frame but that never stopped her from having the biggest impact on game, which is why the Knights senior was chosen as the Washington Daily News Volleyball Player of the Year.
It was a remarkable season for Riverside as it finished the regular season undefeated en route to its second straight Four Rivers Conference title. Amazingly, the Knights won 23 games in a row streaking all the way to the Sectional Round of the playoffs before being knocked off by NCSSM.
It was a team loaded with talented playmakers, as evident by its 23-1 record, but to borrow a phrase from Reggie Jackson, Ange was the straw that stirred the drink.
In a conference loaded with quality volleyball players, Ange is a back-to-back conference player of the year and deservingly so as she tallied 170 service points, 66 digs and seven blocks.
Ange has good footwork, great instincts and tremendous court awareness that allowed her to set up Knights hitters such as Madison Brandon, Rachel Baker and Jesse Ann Rogers for thunderous kills. Riverside coach Herbie Rogers said that what makes Ange so special is her dedication to the sport and team.
“The thing about Peri is that we ask her to cover up a lot of mistakes in our passing game and she is going to do everything she can to first, get to the ball, and second, get it to our hitters so they can hit,” Rogers said. “She will hit the floor, she will do whatever needs to be done for us to be successful and she really works hard at her position to be the best she can.
“If you do not have a good setter your team is always going to struggle and we’ve been fortunate the last two years to have her in that position.”
Heading into this season the expectations were high for Riverside, but Ange said she was shocked by just how much success the team had.
“I had no idea it would end up that way,” Ange said. “It was so much fun to go out there and play.”
Of all Ange’s great traits, one of her best is the ability to set up the team’s hitters from anywhere on the court. Ange excelled at tracking down shanked hits and turning them into assists with pinpoint accurate passes.
“She just always knows what we want to do with the ball,” Rogers said. “She’s gotten better, especially this year, of going one way and setting it the other way and moving the ball around to different people so it’s a little bit harder to read where she is going with the ball, and that makes it even tougher on the defenses we face.”
For Ange, the payoff for running into the stands or sliding on the gym floor for the ball was seeing her teammates convert her dishes into spikes.
“It was so much fun to put the ball up there and watch what they would with it,” Ange said. “I knew whoever I set it to was going to put it down.”
Ange’s ability to hit the mark with her passes did not happen over night. Rogers said that she is as good as she is because of her love for the game and determination to improve.
“She is always open. If I think there is something she needs to do to become better she will do that,” Rogers said. “She gets excited when she makes a great set and the hitters do their job. It’s just a lot of fun to watch her and see how far she has come.”