By Brad Fauber
There is a certain pressure when stepping to the service line that is unmatched by any other action during the course of a volleyball game. The entire gymnasium is focused solely on you, and your team's quest for that next point begins with your ability to get the ball across the net and inside the boundaries.
It's a stressful situation, but it's a situation that Warren County sophomore Kylee Eyler thrives in.
"It's really important because you can't start a good rally without a good serve. It is stressful ... but I manage to do pretty well with that," Eyler said in a phone interview Wednesday night. "I think being under pressure does help a lot because you don't want to let your team down."
Time after time this season, Eyler has seemed virtually unfazed by the pressures of being the Wildcats' go-to server.
Eyler has been responsible for jump-starting countless rallies for Warren County this season, and the full impact of Eyler's abilities from the service line was on display in the Wildcats' Bull Run District match with Clarke County on Oct. 8.
In Warren County's 3-0 sweep of the visiting Eagles, Eyler was responsible for 15 of the Wildcats' 24 aces in the match. For her efforts, Eyler is The Northern Virginia Daily's Female Athlete of the Week for the week of Oct. 6-12.
"She has such a strong serve and when she's on, she's on," Wildcats coach Sarah Putnam said. "We definitely look to her to get us started out of the gate every game."
Eyler, who has been first in the serving rotation for Warren County (9-9, 8-5 Bull Run) the entire season, certainly proved why Putnam has utilized her in that leadoff spot with her performance against Clarke County.
In the match's opening set, Eyler got the Wildcats rolling with a string of 10 straight service points to open the match, a run that included seven straight aces from the sophomore. Warren County would go on to win the set, 25-9.
Eyler provided another boost in the second set, as three more aces helped the Wildcats to an early 6-2 lead.
"It's huge to get off in the right direction like that," Putnam said. "It's huge to get those aces where she's carrying the team for a few moments. The team rallies around her, and she rallies around the team."
Eyler also proved she can be just as effective from the service line late in a set, as she served the final nine points in the third game to give Warren County a match-clinching 25-18 win. Eyler had three more aces during that run.
"She takes everything in and she has some natural ability and natural talent when it comes to serving," Putnam said. "She just puts that effort in to get nothing less than serving it in every time."
Eyler, who was late season call-up from the JV team last season as a freshman, credits the amount of effort she puts into her serves during each practice as the main reason for her success this season.
Putnam said that Eyler works extensively on her service game whenever she can, which has helped her become more and more consistent as the year has gone on.
"I do take pride in my serving," Eyler said. "I think that's one of my best skills."
Contact sports writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @BradFauberNVD