August 10, 2010 8:45:00 AM
CALEDONIA -- Marlana Dolan has to be ready for anything.
As a setter, she would love to receive perfect passes so she has time to set up and to pick her hitters to help them deliver kills for the Caledonia High School volleyball team.
But any setter knows that is a dream that is rarely realized.
Instead, setters often scramble at the whim of their teammates -- and the opposition -- and track down passes that go close to the net, out of bounds, or into the back row.
The location of the passes doesn''t matter because Dolan has one objective: Get the ball up so her teammates can swing.
"You get a different pass every time, so each time you get a pass it helps you for the next one," Dolan said. "As many balls you get to touch, it helps."
Dolan showed Friday and Saturday she can handle every variety of passes with ease. Her consistent performance enabled Caledonia to finish 3-1 and to take third in its bracket at the Set It Off Challenge in Jackson.
For her efforts, Dolan is The Dispatch''s Prep Player of the Week.
"Club ball has benefited her greatly," Caledonia coach Samantha Brooks said. "She has come a long way in the last year, and definitely in the last three years."
Dolan completed her second year playing club volleyball in Tupelo earlier this year. From after the 2009 season until March, Dolan, who played libero in her first year with the club team, participated in a lot of tournaments and helped the team win a lot of games at a high level. She said the experience helped her gain confidence and exposed her to more plays, which has helped her transition back to high school as a better player.
Dolan said she learned how to improve her technique and to hold her hands by working with a heavier ball for setters. She said the ball automatically forms the hands into the shape needed to make a set.
That training was key for Dolan, who said she also improved her footwork and anticipation.
"A big thing for our team is not hesitating," Dolan said. "You have to know where to be. Playing so much you know you have to get there. Depending on where you are on the court, you might automatically know where you need to set it.
"When a pass is bad, you automatically know you have to put it up to the player who can best hit it."
Dolan feels she is doing that work faster. She said those decisions needs to made in a split second so the hitters have time to move into position to swing at the set.
Brooks said that experience translates into Dolan''s desire on the court. She said Dolan''s drive and competitive fire helps her motivate her teammates. She said the number of repetitions Dolan has had since the last high school season helps her anticipate where passes will go, even if the passes aren''t the best.
"She has good court sense," Brooks said. "She knows where her hitters are, so she knows who to set, who is in the front row, who is on, who is off. She has played with girls who have played all year, so it really has benefited her."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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