Troxell continues to shine for Wildcats

By Brad Fauber

FRONT ROYAL — Warren County volleyball coach Sarah Putnam knows what to expect from senior Autumn Troxell by now.

A four-year varsity player, Troxell has long been the centerpiece of what the Wildcats look to accomplish on the volleyball court.

Opposing teams know what to expect, too, but are usually unable to slow down the 6-foot-1 senior at the net. Putnam chalks that up to Troxell’s innate skill on the court.

“She has excellent court awareness that not a lot of girls who play varsity for four years or play travel volleyball get naturally without having somebody teach them how to be aware of where you are, who’s next to you and whatnot,” Putnam said. “She has that and it’s natural ability.”

That talent has continued to shine for Troxell this season, and her ability to put the ball on the floor was apparent in Warren County’s full slate of matches last week.

In six matches for the Wildcats — which included a tournament featuring Conference 28 competition at John Champe this past Saturday — Troxell tallied a whopping 60 kills while leading Warren County to four wins in that span.

For her efforts, Troxell has been named The Northern Virginia Daily’s Female Athlete of the Week for Sept. 21-27.

“She’s confident. She’s a leader. She’s making smart decisions this season more than the other three seasons that she’s been on varsity,” Putnam said. “She’s reading the defense, communicating that with the girls and that’s really helped them out, which has helped us out as a team.”

Troxell is a major reason the Wildcats are 9-6 this season and sitting in the upper third of the Bull Run District standings, but she’s not at all willing to take all of the credit.

“It’s kind of just been my teammates,” Troxell said. “I feed off their energy and their momentum, so without them staying up and staying positive I don’t think I’d be where I am today or do as well as I’ve been doing.”

The successful week for Troxell — and in turn, Warren County — began with a sweep over cross-town rival Skyline on Sept. 23. Troxell had 12 kills, two aces and a block in the win.

Two days later, Troxell smashed 13 kills to go along with a block and two aces as the Wildcats swept Central.

Troxell capped the week by scoring a combined 35 kills in four matches during Saturday’s tournament, as Warren County finished the day 2-2.

“It’s playing smart,” Putnam said of Troxell’s successful week. “That’s actually become one of her strong suits over the last couple weeks now, is communicating with the other hitters where the holes are in the other team, and seeing when she goes up to hit not to kill the ball but to tip it or to dink it somewhere where the defense isn’t. That’s one of the great things about her.”

Troxell said that ability to add some variety to her shots is the major difference between this season and years past.

“I feel like my diversity with hitting has gotten better. I’ve gotten better on the outside and the weak side, so all around I can just hit where coach puts me,” Troxell said.

It’s not all about point scoring with Troxell, however. Putnam has long praised the senior’s ability to play anywhere on the court.

Troxell rarely leaves the court during matches, and she said she prides herself in being able to operate just as successfully along the back row as she does up against the net.

“I definitely want to work on my all-around ability, whether it’s blocking or passing in the back row,” said Troxell, who also had 11 digs during the weekend tournament. “I feel like as long as I can work harder and can make myself better, that’s all that matters.”

Troxell admitted that this season felt a little different at the start with it being her senior season, but she is no stranger to being Warren County’s leader on the court. She was also quick to credit her teammates for making her leadership role that much simpler.

“From my prior experiences, it’s really helped out this year but it’s nice to have girls that are easy to work with and easy to help make me better,” Troxell said.

“It’s a little different. I feel like there’s a little more pressure because everyone’s looking at you and you’re going to be the leader, but I feel like it’s [gone] well so far. Everyone has really gotten along and we’ve really played well.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or bfauber@nvdaily.com