Mon, Dec. 09

Camp Verde athlete of the week: Freshman volleyball star Hedges full of potential for Cowboys

Camp Verde freshman Maya Hedges serves the ball earlier this season. Hedges leads the region in blocks. (VVN/James Kelley)

Camp Verde freshman Maya Hedges serves the ball earlier this season. Hedges leads the region in blocks. (VVN/James Kelley)

Before practice on Wednesday, Camp Verde High head volleyball coach Britney Armstrong read an article about potential, something Maya Hedges has plenty of.

Even though Armstrong considers her fairly new to the game, the freshman has made an impact on the varsity.

“People will often times say ‘oh that kid has a lot of potential’ and we say that a lot about Maya too, she’s got a lot of potential,” Armstrong said. “But the thing that this article was saying was ‘great, but how far does potential get you if you don’t actually do it?’ and so Maya’s been a doer. She’s been in there playing confidently and aggressively.”

Hedges said she started high school with out much experience despite playing in middle school.

Even after missing a week due to illness, Hedges is first in the region in blocks, with 43 four ahead of second place senior Lauren Lam of Glendale Prep. Lam played in 30 more sets than Hedges, who is also 11th in the region in kills.

“I tease her that she just learned how to play volleyball this summer (laughs) because she just figured out that she was going to be a middle and she just was learning how to block and how to hit and how to do an approach and how to transition,” Armstrong said. “That’s a lot to learn and then have to do in a game and not just in any game, but at a varsity level. She’s playing against girls that are seniors that have been playing for four or plus years, maybe even club.”

Armstrong said Hedges has a good attitude and fits in well with her older teammates, encouraging and leading.

Armstrong didn’t see her play that much last year because of high school conflicts but was impressed with what she saw.

“You can just tell she’s just a natural out there, she’s just athletic, she moves well, she moves quickly, but she was just out there playing, she didn’t really know what exactly she was doing but she was getting by because she’s just athletic,” Armstrong said. “And she’s smart, you can just kind of tell her what to do and she can do that.”

VVN: How’s the season been going for you?

Hedges: It’s actually been going good, but ever since I’ve been sick I’ve been a little weak. But I’m actually getting back into the groove again. For me I think it’s been really good actually.

VVN: How tough is it to come back from that, being so sick?

Hedges: I was out for a whole week because I was really, really sick, but I’m so little that I’m already mostly over it.

VVN: How’s the season gone overall for the team do you think?

Hedges: It’s pretty good, it’s been rough though, we just haven’t been getting along lately, but it’s pretty good actually.

VVN: What’s it been like moving up to high school?

Hedges: I like it because last year in middle school we didn’t have a real volleyball coach, so I didn’t get much experience because she didn’t know what to teach, so we practically coached ourselves but coming to high school, it’s a big change for me and having coaches that know what they’re doing, that’s helped me out a lot and I feel like I have improved a lot.

VVN: What’s coach Armstrong like, I know she played in college and everything and was really good in high school, what’s it like playing for her?

Hedges: It’s actually really good actually, because she knows what she’s talking about. When I came I didn’t know how to hit, I didn’t really know how to set. I mostly just knew how to block and like pass and stuff and I’ve come a long ways just in five months and I already know a lot.

VVN: What are the biggest changes you’ve made since you starting playing for the high school team?

Hedges: My hitting, I know how to approach and stuff now, it’s been a big change for me.

VVN: What does it feel like to get a block?

Hedges: It feels real good actually (laughs), yeah. Especially when I go against my friends from other schools that I played other sports with, blocking them, it’s pretty great.

VVN: What other sports do you play?

Hedges: Basketball and I might do track.

VVN: What’s your favorite sport?

Hedges: I’d have to say volleyball now.

VVN: How come?

Hedges: I used to play soccer and ever since I came to high school, they really, really taught me volleyball. They made me really like volleyball and so I just kinda moved into volleyball and I really want to stick with it and want to try to go to college with it.

VVN: What kinds of things are you into besides sports?

Hedges: Probably like FFA.

VVN: Finally, have you thought about what you want to do after high school? It sounds like you have a bit.

Hedges: I want to go to college and become a neo natal nurse.

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