Underwood serves and sets her way to honor

Published 5:10 pm Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hailey Underwood has put in the work and experienced plenty during her time as part of the Isabella volleyball program, and now she has the recognition to go along with it.

Underwood was named the 2016 Clanton Advertiser Volleyball Player of the Year after six years in the program and having started the past three since making the jump to varsity as a sophomore.

“She’s a competitor and has been one of our leaders for years,” Isabella head coach Glen Graham said. “I knew when she was in seventh grade that she had potential to be a very strong player for us.”

During her time on the squad Underwood found a home at the setter position and continued to hone the techniques related to that position until her final game in an Isabella uniform.

As a setter there is a certain pressure that always exists, due to the offense’s dependence on the position to operate successfully.

This is something that Underwood has embraced over time and learned to accept it as a challenge instead of a burden.

“I try to make sure everyone is in the right place and then just try to set the ball the best that I can for the perfect hit,” Underwood said. “It’s important, because if you don’t do it right it will show on the court.”

Underwood’s service game proved a valuable asset during the Mustangs’ postseason run. She led the team with 114 aces on the season.

Hailey Underwood piled up the aces for Isabella during her senior season on the volleyball court.

Hailey Underwood piled up the aces for Isabella during her senior season on the volleyball court.

“We spend a lot of time in practice working on various types of service games, because it is a big part of our game,” Graham said. “As they [players] get older, it becomes about using different spins and making the other team communicate.”

Underwood also finished with 106 kills, 125 digs, 15 blocks and was second on the team in assists with 232.

Each of those statistical categories could have been even higher, if not for an injury that forced her to miss some games during the season.

“She has experienced everything,” Graham said. “I’m proud that she was able to be part of the team that has raised the bar even higher for us.”

Isabella advanced in the state tournament for the first time in school history and finished one game shy of playing for a state title in Class 1A.

“To finally make that next step during my senior year was the best thing,” Underwood said. “We fight through every little thing that comes our way. We’re a competitive group.”

After high school, she plans to attend Faulkner State Community College or Wallace State Community College and work toward a career in nursing.

“You hate seeing kids like Hailey leave your program, but that is what our job is,” Graham said. “To grow them as well as we can into both good players and good people.”


First Team

Synia Chattman, junior, Isabella

Jayda Jones, junior, Isabella

Kaley Lucas, senior, CCHS

Johnna Robertson, senior, CCHS

Cassani Steele, senior, Jemison

Hailey Underwood, senior, Isabella


Second Team

Kasey Grimes, junior, Isabella

Leslie Hague, junior, Jemison

Lesley Harton, senior, CCHS

Anna Mims, senior, CCHS

Kerri Robinson, senior, Thorsby

Sophia Underwood, junior, Isabella