Why LaBolle was selected:
Sammi LaBolle had 17 kills in the championship match of the Sandwich Invitational, leading the Indians to a repeat championship of their tournament.
Sandwich's 6-foot-2 senior middle hitter stood tall in the biggest moment, throwing down nine kills in the clinching third game against Streator Woodland. For the tournament LaBolle had 41 kills and 14 aces for 14-2 Sandwich. LaBolle talked to Record sports editor Joshua Welge about it. Here is an edited version of the transcript.
Welge: What was the significance of winning this tournament?
LaBolle: It is definitely a big step for our team. There were a few conference teams there, so it was nice to know ahead of time that we could compete with them because one of our goals is to win conference this year. We won the tournament last year so it was a drive to win it again.
Welge: You had nine kills in the third game. What's it feel like to be in a rhythm like that?
LaBolle: It feels good that and your setter are connecting, that all the passes are good. Everything that went into the point was good.
Welge: You played this summer for Sports Performance's 18 Elite team that took second at nationals. How did you grow as a player?
LaBolle: I had to acclimate quickly and react so much faster and read everything on the court. I had to pick up my confidence. There was no time to be scared. I had to do what I do. It definitely brought me out of my shell.
Welge: Speaking of growing, did you have a growth spurt somewhere?
LaBolle: No, I was always pretty tall. All through middle school I was the tallest person. Guys were not even tall yet.
Welge: Are you the tallest member of your family?
LaBolle: By like a half-inch. The next tallest is my older brother, who is 21. Both of my parents are like 5-8, 5-9. I'm not really sure where the height came from. I guess I have the special gene.
Welge: How high can you touch?
LaBolle: The last time I measured my vertical, I touched 10 feet.
Welge: How else has playing for Sports Performance helped?
LaBolle: They make it like a college program, give you a set routine. It is a very strict schedule. It's helped me a lot with time management. Playing at nationals was an eye-opening experience.
Welge: Do you have any college visits coming up?
LaBolle: Yes I'm actually leaving for a visit to George Mason on Thursday, and I am currently talking to a few more schools about visits. My goal is a good Division I school.