By Jeff Nations
It seems like a simple enough move, shifting one spot over on the volleyball court from middle hitter to the outside.
Skyline coach Lesley Detweiler knows better. There are entirely new angles to learn on the attack, timing to get down, footwork and defensive positioning to master. Still, she knew coming into this season that the Hawks had an abundance of middle hitters. That prompted Detweiler to ask Jenny Norman to make that move to the outside.
It's not easy -- Norman just makes it look that way.
"It's been difficult," Norman said. "The middle is so much faster than the outside, but I think I've adjusted to it."
There didn't seem to be much doubt about that last week in an emotional match against cross-town rival Warren County. Norman was simply dominant in a 3-1 (25-21, 25-12, 17-25, 25-20) victory over the Wildcats, notching 12 kills and a block in the victory. For her performance, Norman is The Northern Virginia Daily's Female Athlete of the Week for Sept. 22-28.
"Against Warren County, we were all really into it," Norman said. "We all really wanted to get that win against Warren County. Personally, I think it was the best win so far. It's always exciting when you beat your cross-town rival."
Norman helped make it happen, and has been a driving force for the Hawks all season both on and off the court.
"The team really follows her leadership and example on the court," Detweiler said. "I think that's been really big for us this year."
Detweiler said Norman's transition to the outside has gone well, and she's seeing constant improvement from the senior as the season wears on.
"I still see her improving, especially just in her confidence outside," Detweiler said. "Having her out there hitting is really making a difference.
"She's been our go-to hitter. In the Warren County match, she really stepped up and wanted the ball, and she was putting it away."
Norman wasn't exactly a hard sell on the position switch -- moving to the outside is something she wanted to do all along.
"I was actually really excited for it," Norman said. "I like hitting on the outside better than I did in the middle. I actually think I hit better from the outside."
The results this season seem to back that assessment up, but Norman knows she can still do more to improve her performance on the court.
"I think you can always work, all around, to improve on your hitting and passing and defense," Norman said. "I definitely need to work on my serve receive and passing more."
Norman has proven that she has the hitting -- outside or in the middle -- down pat for the Hawks.
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org>. Follow on Twitter @J_NationsNVD