Athlete of the Week: Carter making her presence felt on court for Wildcats in senior season

Britney Carter Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Warren County High School’s volleyball program has meant a great deal to senior middle hitter Britney Carter. That much was clear following the Wildcats’ win over William Monroe in the Region 3B tournament quarterfinals on Tuesday evening.

Shortly after Warren County’s sweep over the Green Dragons, which put the Wildcats within a win of qualifying for the Virginia High School League Class 3 state tournament, Carter had to fight back her emotions when explaining what the Wildcats’ most recent win – their 13th in a row – meant to her.

“I love it,” Carter said of the season-long ride during which the Wildcats claimed the program’s first district title since 2003. “I couldn’t imagine being a team with anybody else. I couldn’t imagine being anything other than a Wildcat. I love my team. I love my coaches. I love everything.”

Carter has meant just as much to Warren County.

A four-year member of the Wildcats’ volleyball program and a two-year varsity player, Carter, The Northern Virginia Daily’s Athlete of the Week, has taken a leap during her final high school season. In 20 regular season matches this fall, the senior tallied 147 kills – an average of 7.4 per match – and she added 12 more in Tuesday’s regional victory.

“Britney’s awesome,” junior outside hitter Kaley Foulks said. “Britney is so consistent. Britney – she’s just awesome. We’re definitely gonna miss her next year on the front row. She’s so nice, she’s so positive, she keeps everyone going on the court. She’s just a really consistent hitter and she can just pull it out because she’s really good. I’m just so happy for her.”

Carter’s statistical output on the court takes a backseat to Foulks’ on most nights (Foulks smashed over 300 kills during the regular season). But in matches where Foulks isn’t at the top of her game, Carter is more than capable of picking up the slack.

That’s a credit to Carter’s work in the offseason. She said she’s played travel volleyball for the past two years, and 2017 has been the year in which she’s put it all together on the court.

“I did nothing but focus on getting my hits stronger, getting them better,” Carter said.

Look no further than her increase in scoring production for affirmation.

“She’s really picked her game up,” head coach Dorinda Robinson said. “She runs a quick really well. She runs a back slide. She can run all of them in the middle. She can hit from the outside. She gets her hands on some blocks. She’s done an amazing job for us. I wish I could keep her another year.”

Carter admitted she’s had her own mixed emotions about playing her final season of high school volleyball. She entered the season excited about the possibilities of her senior season, she said, but also sad knowing that there is no next year with her Warren County teammates.

That affinity for and camaraderie with her teammates runs among all of the Wildcats, Carter said, and it’s for that reason that the team has been able to piece together one of the greatest seasons in program history.

“We’ve all played together for so long, we know how everybody works,” Carter said of a team that hasn’t lost since Sept. 14 and has yet to lose to a fellow Class 3 opponent this season. “We know where everyone plays. We know everything about each other. We’re very close. We’re very comfortable with each other. We’re always together. Even outside of school and outside of practice we’re together. … I think that helps out a lot with a team when you’re close.”

Warren County (17-4) returns to action a 6 p.m. Thursday in the Region 3B semifinals with a state tournament berth on the line. The Wildcats host a Culpeper County team that they swept in both regular season meetings earlier this year.

“I wanna see us go to states, honestly. I would love it,” Carter said. “That’d be a dream come true as a senior.”