Versatile Goode making impact on court for Wildcats

Jayme Goode Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Warren County senior Jayme Goode has been all over the court for the Wildcats’ volleyball team this fall.

Beginning the season as a middle hitter, Goode was moved to the outside and bounced between the strong- and weak-side spots, partly out of necessity due to injury and partly due to head coach Dorinda Robinson tinkering with the lineup to determine the best fit. Robinson recently concluded the Wildcats’ optimal lineup included shifting junior Arianna Smoot from middle to weak-side hitter in order to give Warren County more blocking power against the opposing team’s strong side, a move that opened up a return to the middle for Goode, who has essentially gone full circle in her on-court role this season.

“No matter where we asked her to go or what we asked her to do, she’s a team player and she’s gonna do it,” Robinson said before practice Wednesday.

The readjustment has seemed to pay off for Goode and the Wildcats, and the senior settled back into middle quite nicely in a pair of matches last week. Goode smashed 13 combined kills, notched nine blocks and served four aces in two 3-0 sweeps of Central and Strasburg, garnering The Northern Virginia Daily’s Female Athlete of the Week honor for Oct. 18-24.

“I do think it’s a good fit for me right now,” said Goode, now in her second season at the varsity level. “I think that I’ve gotten a little more athletic this year so I can get a little bit higher. I can hold my own with a lot of the taller girls, so I think I’ve done a pretty decent job adjusting to the middle.”

Goode finished a sweep over Central on Oct. 20 with eight kills, an ace and a block, but it was in the Strasburg match two nights later where the senior truly showed the impact she can make as the Wildcats’ middle hitter. She finished the three-set win with a career-high eight blocks, mimicking Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel’s money sign with her hands after each and every blocked kill attempt.

“I’m more of a short middle, I’m only like 5-9 as opposed to the 6-foot-tall girls, so it’s pretty difficult but I’ve kind of started reading the sets a little better to get a block on time,” Goode said. “And I’ve worked on my timing a little bit and gotten that a little better.”

A member of Warren County’s volleyball program since middle school, Goode actually credits another sport for preparing her to make the jump as a top contributor for the Wildcats in her final volleyball season.

“I went to a tennis boot camp in Fairfax (over the summer) and lost a ton of body fat … so my vertical’s increased, I’ve gotten a lot stronger and a lot faster and better reactions to balls,” Goode said.

Goode was even given the title of team captain prior to the start of the season, a role she said she was surprised to get.

“I goof off a lot, so it was like why would anyone pick me?” Goode said with a laugh. “I was really excited to pick up that role this year and I hope that I don’t let my team down.”

Goode has emerged as one of Warren County’s top attacking threats this season, and figures to make an even bigger impact at the net now that she’s back in the middle, where she said she is more comfortable blocking.

Despite her title as the team’s captain, Goode admitted her transition into that leadership role hasn’t exactly been smooth, and she tends to shoulder much of the blame whenever the Wildcats struggle.

Robinson, who said Goode is a “fun all-around person,” considers the senior a “perfectionist” who is sometimes too hard on herself when things aren’t going well.

“As far as motivating the team, that’s been a struggle for anyone all year,” Robinson said. “I just haven’t found that person, but she is very concerned about her play. She feels that if she’s not playing well that she’s letting the team down, so sometimes she’s too hard on herself.”

Warren County (10-9) has won four of its last six matches and closes out the regular season with a road game at Clarke County tonight before beginning Conference 28 tournament play next Monday. Robinson said the Wildcats will be seeded no lower than third in the conference tournament, guaranteeing them at least one home match in the postseason. A Warren County win tonight paired with a Riverside loss would give the Wildcats the No. 2 seed, Robinson said.

“I’m hoping that we’re gonna be regional bound this year,” said Goode, who became the school’s first tennis regional qualifier in more than 10 years last spring. “… I would love if we could come together as a team and accomplish that goal. We haven’t done that before, I don’t think, in a long time. I can’t think of a time that we’ve gotten to regionals before. I think it’s definitely a doable goal.”

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com