Athlete of the Week: Move to middle pays off for Warren’s Smoot

Arianna Smoot

FRONT ROYAL — Last week Warren County volleyball coach Dorinda Robinson decided to move Arianna Smoot from outside hitter to middle hitter. The move paid off in a big way for Smoot and the Wildcats.

Smoot had one of her most productive weeks of the season in leading Warren County to two victories.

“I do feel good about how I did,” Smoot said. “I feel like my blocks were really good. Moving me to the middle, I don’t hit well on the middle, but I block really well so that’s a good thing.”

Smoot, The Northern Virginia Daily’s Athlete of the Week for the week of Sept. 26-Oct. 2, had 17 kills and 19 blocks in three matches last week.

Of all the blocks Smoot had, the biggest one came against cross-town rival Skyline on Sept. 26.

With the Wildcats up 16-15 in the fifth set, Smoot had the match-winning block.

“Oh my goodness it was awesome, especially since we were all fired up,” Smoot said of the block. “It was like 13-13, 14-14, so it was like we need to get this next point. We need to get this next point. I had a feeling in my stomach. I felt like ‘I’m going to get a good block right now,’ and then I got a good block.”

Smoot had seven kills and six blocks in that match, and then the next day had six kills and seven blocks in a four-set victory over Strasburg.

“She had a big game at Skyline,” Robinson said. “She had the big game-ending block, which was huge I think that kind of motivated her for the next game.”

Smoot said she played in the middle last year, so moving to the new position wasn’t that difficult of a change. She said she’s still working on becoming a better hitter from the middle.

The senior said she loves getting both kills and blocks equally.

“I love getting a good kill, and I love getting a good block,” Smoot said. “Both of them get me very hyped. Both get me excited for what’s the next play going to be? Am I going to get another block, or am I going to get another hit? It’s really exciting.”

For the season, Smoot has 109 kills and an area-best 61 blocks.

She also has 48 digs, which is second on the team.

“She’s been a versatile player,” Robinson said. “She can play all the way around. She’s probably one of the best serve-receive players that we have on the team, as far as getting that first pass going.”

The Wildcats (9-6) have won five of their last six matches, and Smoot said she feels good about what they can accomplish the rest of the season.

Smoot, who is also a standout player in girls basketball and softball at Warren County, said she really wants to make the most of her senior season.

“My goal is to be on top of basketball and softball and volleyball, to be my best,” Smoot said. “I always give my 110 percent, but this year I’m very determined to have a really good season in each of those three sports.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com