Athlete of the Week: Move to outside hitter paying off for Sherando’s Dolsen

Elizabeth Dolsen Rich Cooley/Daily

STEPHENS CITY — After losing two outside hitters to graduation, Sherando volleyball coach James Minney asked Liz Dolsen to switch to the position this season. The move has paid off in a big way for Dolsen and the Warriors.

The Sherando senior is having a strong season at outside hitter, after playing last year at middle hitter. Dolsen said she enjoys playing at her new position.

“I like outside a lot better just because it’s a slower offense in the middle,” Dolsen said. “But they both are really fun.”

Minney said the main reason he had Dolsen play in the middle last year was because he had Mackenzie Cornwell and Alaina Paige playing as outside hitters. He said Dolsen did a great job as a middle hitter, but she’s just as effective as an outside hitter.

“Liz can put the ball down and move it around,” Minney said.

Dolsen, The Northern Virginia Daily’s Athlete of the Week for the week of Aug. 27-Sept. 3, has been making a big impact for the Warriors all season.

Last week she helped Sherando pull out a five-set victory over Turner Ashby, avenging an earlier loss to the Black Knights.

Dolsen and teammate Rachel Burton, who also moved from middle hitter to outside hitter this year, had 11 kills each in the victory.

Dolsen also had three service aces in the victory. Dolsen said she really enjoys serving.

“It is fun to serve,” Dolsen said. “And since I usually don’t play defense, serving gives me a chance to actually play defense because I usually just play up front at the net.”

Dolsen said her favorite part of the game is hitting and making a kill.

She said that when she gets a kill it gives the whole team a boost.

“You’re just so excited for the whole team that you got a point, it’s not even about yourself anymore,” Dolsen of getting kills. “It’s about winning as a team, and you’re just so happy that you can share that with the team.”

Last year was Dolsen’s first on the varsity team, and she said that she learned a lot from some of the seniors.

Dolsen, one of three seniors on the team, said she’s trying to be a role model for some of the younger players.

“I try to be a person that the team can look up to, the juniors that are going to be upcoming seniors next year, so they know the expectations,” Dolsen said.

Minney said that Dolsen has done a real good job leading the team, and reminds him a little of the way Cornwell led the team last year.

“Mackenzie (Cornwell) was a huge role model for all the girls,” Minney said. “She was another leader by example. She didn’t have to talk much or say much. She’s a very quiet person, but she was a very, very consistent player. And I see a lot of that in Liz.”

The Warriors are off to a 2-2 start, and Dolsen said she believes the team can do really well if they just push themselves to do their best.

Dolsen said she really wants to make the most of her final season and it motivates her.

“It makes me want to push myself and the team tremendously to be the greatest we can,” Dolsen said.