FORT WAYNE – At 5-foot-4, Columbia City’s Kalisha Goree isn’t the most intimidating outside hitter, but the senior has learned a lot playing the position the last two years that will help her when she moves full time to a back-row player in college at Ohio State.
Goree played parts of her freshman and sophomore seasons at libero, which made her a back-row-only player. But as a junior and senior, Goree has been an outside hitter for the Eagles and that has put her playing both front and back rows.
But at the next level, Goree will be, at least to start, in the back row with the Buckeyes as a defensive specialist/libero, just as she has done in club volleyball.
The time hitting the ball, as well as digging it, has served Goree well.
Being an outside hitter in high schools has helped me to be able to see the different arm swings of the hitter and tell which angle they maybe hitting so it will give me a better read to pick those balls better, said Goree, a two-time All-NHC player. I have become a smarter player. Knowing the game all around from different positions and playing outside and back row and being able to read the hitters and pick up balls. (Playing full time in the back row) will help because since I am not that tall, and it would harder for me to hit around the 6-5, 6-6 blockers. It will be nice to just pass and dig up the tough shots.
I think it is a great opportunity (at Ohio State) for me.
Her size, though, has never really been an issue.
Since I have been able to jump pretty high, I have been able to hit on the outside, she said. Most coaches have put me hitting, but since we have gone up against taller girls in club, and they are getting taller as I have grown up, it has been harder so that’s why I am going back to libero. In high schools, it’s been OK because most of the girls are my size so I have been able to hit around them.
Not only is Goree used to playing against taller players but also against older ones as she has played up an age level since starting club volleyball in Fort Wayne at 10. It was the first of an annual trip to play in the nationals.
It prepares me to go to the college level and the future, Goree said. It has helped me a lot with high school. I am able to read more and see other things from playing against older girls.
Goree has always stood tall for the Eagles (25-5).
She has been our team captain since her sophomore year, Columbia City coach Trish Hinen said. She is a great kid and has played varsity since she was a freshman in various roles.