Female Athlete of the Week: Singleton rises to prominent role for Stonewall’s Generals
QUICKSBURG – Brittany Singleton needed a bit of convincing to join Stonewall Jackson High School’s volleyball team two years ago. Singleton, a lifelong soccer player, wasn’t too keen on trying to learn a new sport in the middle of her high school career.
Finally, at the urging of her older sister, Ali, she gave it a shot during her sophomore year in 2013.
“I’m not really a person who likes to try too many things so to get thrown into a completely new sport my sophomore year was kind of scary for me,” Brittany Singleton said Wednesday. “But (my sister) kind of threw me into it and helped me through it. I went straight onto varsity with her so she was there to help me the entire time. She would be my passing partner and she would ease me into it. So she was there for me. She helped me get into volleyball.”
Even with a mentor there to guide her, Singleton’s volleyball debut was anything but smooth. During a jamboree event that season, Singleton recalls her body shaking with nerves and feeling “terrified” when she stepped foot on the court.
“I went in and I literally just ran in circles the entire time,” she said.
Two years later, Singleton is referred to as the “fire” to Stonewall Jackson’s offense by Generals coach Lindsey Dinges. And last week, Singleton showed why.
Singleton smashed 37 kills and had 26 blocks during three matches last week, a span that culminated in a career performance for the senior in the Generals’ 3-2 win at Page County last Thursday, a match in which she tallied 20 kills and 16 blocks.
For her efforts, Singleton has been named The Northern Virginia Daily’s Female Athlete of the Week for Oct. 4-10.
For Dinges, who coached the Generals’ JV team in 2013 and got to experience first-hand Singleton’s struggles to grasp a new sport, Singleton’s leap from sophomore season to now has been “mind-boggling.”
“This year she’s really blossomed,” Dinges said. “She’s leading our team in kills and blocks every single game, like she should be.
“She’s a very, very vital piece of my offense. I can put her up against just about anybody and once she figures out the opponent she can get her hands on just about anything. She’s just very athletic.”
Singleton began her stellar week with six kills and three blocks in a loss to Buffalo Gap last Monday and followed that with 11 kills and seven blocks against Luray the next night. But it was in Stonewall’s victory over Page County – the Generals’ fourth win this season – that Singleton really thrived.
Using her improved grasp of blocking concepts that Singleton says has been her greatest leap since beginning her volleyball career, the 5-foot-11 senior said she was able to accurately anticipate the attacks of one of Page County’s middle hitters.
“I figured out how to read her shoulders,” Singleton said, “so every single time right before she’d go up she would either cut it hard or go straight down, and I could see right before she would go up so I would align myself.”
Singleton said she loves the feeling of being able to “take away a kill from somebody else” with an effective block, and Dinges added that she’s “amazed” at Singleton’s ability to consistently get in good defensive position.
“She’ll be on the right side of the net and (the opposing team will) get a pass and they’ll get it back and take it to the left side, and she’ll get there and somehow get her hands on it,” Dinges said. “Somehow those arms, they touch everything. She’s very, very good at what she does.”
Though she’s also become the Generals’ catalyst in the offensive attack this fall, Singleton said she doesn’t consider her hitting to be much “better or stronger” than two years ago. Singleton does work with Stonewall assistant coach Meghan Girouard – Dinges’ sister – on certain aspects of hitting, but Singleton added that she’s never gotten to work consistently with someone well versed in the finer aspects of attacking (both Dinges and former Stonewall coach Jamie Armentrout were defensive specialists as players, Singleton said).
“My volleyball career has been super, super inconsistent basically, so to be able to finally overcome the inconsistencies and be able to pull out a night like what we had against Page was awesome,” Singleton said.
Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org