Greenbrier hitter DeJhana Cotton is making her presence felt in a big way.
The 6-foot sophomore is second on the team with 105 kills and a hitting percentage of 32 percent. Her 55 blocks lead the team.
The Lady Wolfpack have a 25-1 record and are ranked No. 9 in Class AAAAA volleyball.
“She’s really proven herself against quality teams,” said Greenbrier head coach Debbie Born. “I’m talking about Aiken, North Augusta, Savannah Country Day, and some of our region teams are strong. She’s unstoppable, she’s got a good mentality.”
Cotton is a relative newcomer to the sport, having tried softball, basketball and cheerleading. She began playing volleyball two years ago and made the varsity squad after a freshman year on the junior varsity.
“Actually, my dad made me go to a clinic that I didn’t want to go to originally,” said Cotton. “But I went and I fell in love with it ever since then.”
There are several things she loves about the sport, but its physicality is the top draw.
“Killing the ball, I love it,” she said. “It’s a thrill. It’s kind of like a stress reliever too, like if I’m mad after a day of school or something, I can take it out on the volleyball.”
Being a part of something bigger than herself is important.
“In volleyball you play with a team and everybody’s in unison with one another,” Cotton said. “You can’t be by yourself cause it doesn’t work that way. I like being a teammate to other people. I like the feeling of helping other people.”
Cotton thinks the team has the talent to go all the way this year, and after Greenbrier’s season is over, volleyball will continue for her. She hopes to join the club team Magnum in Columbia.
“It would help me get a lot better as a player,” said Cotton. “I’m willing to do anything to get better. Luckily I have the support of my parents, too.”
Family is important to Cotton and she has to look no further than the hallways of Greenbrier for added support. Her sister Destiny, a senior, is a basketball player while her brother Deric, a freshman, plays on the Wolfpack football team. She credits Destiny with helping smooth the way for her during her freshman year.
“Yeah, she really took a lot of stress off me, ’cause being a freshman’s not cool or anything.”
Cotton hopes she will be able to play at the Division I level, and that doesn’t appear to be out of the realm of possibility.
“She’s got the body for it, she’s getting looks already,” said Born. “Starting this past summer she was getting looks.”