Fluvanna County senior Emily Haden's contribution to the Flucos' volleyball team goes beyond what she accomplished on the court.
"She's the first one to run up to somebody new and welcome them in," Fluvanna head coach Christi Harlowe-Garrett explained. "We had a couple of transfer students this year and she was right there making them feel at home and working hard to make them feel included and accepted."
"Just being able to lead the girls and be so close to them and have them look up to me was just great. I really liked it a lot," Haden added.
A four-year varsity player at Fluvanna, Haden went from cracking the starting lineup as a junior to earning Jefferson District and Conference 23 first-team honors as captain this season.
"It made me feel so good. I was really happy. Because last year I was second team All-District and that was one of my goals, I really wanted to be All-District."
She's also a member of the Fluvanna indoor and outdoor track and field teams, and she credits that experience with helping to elevate her volleyball game.
"It makes a huge difference, to me at least," she explained. "Just going out and doing something and becoming stronger and more fluid in movement and stuff. Yeah it makes a big difference."
"The difference between her as a freshman and her as a junior is immeasurable," Harlowe-Garrett added. "And that has a lot to do with her offseason training."
The same effort Haden puts in on the court, she applies to the classroom, where she's an "A" student and a member of the Beta Club at Fluvanna.
"I try to be driven in school. I always want to get good grades and I want to push myself for college and that transfers to the court because it helps my drive and my determination."
Haden plans to play volleyball at the next level, and is looking at schools like Randolph Macon and Eastern Mennonite. Harlowe-Garrett says she'll miss more than just Haden's talent and skill.
"That smile," Harlowe-Garrett said. "If you've ever seen her play, it's that 'Yeah!' that she gets when she does something or the team does something good. It's contagious. Were going to miss that. It's a passion that she's got."
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