Being positive is paying off for Alexis Dunbar and the Lakeside High School volleyball team.
With Dunbar as the libero and senior captain, the team is 17-3, the best start in head coach Maureen McCormack’s three-year tenure. Always intense in her four years at Lakeside, Dunbar has used that in different ways this year.
“She’s just been a real floor leader for us,” said McCormack. “Alexis has just always had an incredible work ethic and great skills, but she’s just broadened it to really encourage the team this year.”
Dunbar acknowledges the shift in her on-court persona.
“I don’t get as mad as I used to, and I used to get really mad and yell at my players,” said Dunbar. “This year I’ve just channeled it, it’s encouragement rather than getting angry.
Dunbar credits her coach. “She (McCormack) made me and Holly (Sweeting) read these leadership captain manuals and it really helped me see how I want to be as a captain,” Dunbar said.
The team’s main hitter, Sweeting appreciates what Dunbar brings to the squad.
“Especially when you get tired she pushes you through your tiredness,” said the junior Sweeting. “She’s a good teammate and an encourager and she knows what she’s talking about too, so people listen to her.”
Dunbar, who has been playing club volleyball as well since her sophomore season, thinks the camaraderie that has developed is a big reason the team has been winning.
“I think we’ve really come together more as a team this year,” Dunbar said. “We’re really close and we just have fun with it. That’s one of the most important things about volleyball, you have to have fun. If you don’t have fun out there, then everybody gets really mad at each other and just plays awful.”
If things work out to plan, Dunbar could earn her second region championship in as many sports seasons after helping the Lady Panthers take home the 2013 Region 2-AAAAA girls soccer championship in the spring.
“Soccer was a really big win for us last year,” Dunbar said. “It was like shootouts and PKs (penalty kicks) for the region. It was intense. It’d be really nice if we could do that for volleyball this year.”
Dunbar started as a libero as a freshman, was moved to setter as a sophomore and then back to libero the past two seasons.
“I was like, I’m not going to be a setter in college, there’s no chance of me being a setter, so have me in the back row in case someone comes and watches me play.”
Dunbar would like to play either soccer or volleyball in college but is keeping her options open for now as to which way she leans. Topping the list of college criteria, however, is a school with a physical therapist program.
Making time for both sports requires time management as she plays club soccer during volleyball season and then club volleyball during the spring soccer season.
“At lunch I have to do my homework and study during lunch,” Dunbar said. “It’s just how you spend your time. You can’t hang out with friends, you have to do your homework and study.”