Lakeside senior Kirtley Hitt couldn't have a better last name.
It suits her perfectly when she's out on the volleyball court. She can hit with the best of them.
"She's hitting .686 for the season, which is unheard of," Lakeside volleyball coach Danielle Gonzalez said. "And she's only had five errors on 241 attack attempts."
Those are big numbers for any high school volleyball athlete. They're even more impressive considering the fact that Hitt just picked up the sport last year.
"I think it was a combination of wanting to try something new and just being bored in the fall," Hitt said.
Whatever the reason, she's picked up the game at a stunning rate. Her 5.32 kills per game average leads the team by a long shot.
"She's a great combination of size, athleticism and smarts," Gonzalez said. "It's amazing to me that she just started last year. She doesn't play like it's new to her. Last night was a good example."
It was a Thursday night match against Area 2-AAAA rival Evans she was referring to. The Lady Panthers swept Evans 2-0, and Hitt attacked the net 16 times, recorded 11 kills and committed no errors.
"She's only had five errors the entire season," Gonzalez said. "That's what some girls have in a game."
All the success has come to Hitt despite the fact that she puts down the volleyball for a good 6-8 months out of the year to concentrate on her other sports. She's also on the girls basketball and soccer teams at Lakeside.
"I didn't think that seriously about it to play club ball," Hitt said. "I hope to pick it up this year. I don't think I'm too far behind. Most girls around here don't start till their freshman year."
Hitt said her senior-year success now has her thinking about volleyball at the next level. She could have her pick of colleges just on her grades alone.
Her academic schedule this year includes four Advanced Placement classes.
Pursuing volleyball in college is a whole different game.
"I'm getting the word out and trying to work my contacts," Gonzalez said. "I've talked to the coach at Emory."
Before then, Hitt's volleyball career must first endure the Area 2-AAAA schedule that includes future rivalry matches against both Greenbrier and Evans.
"I don't know. We lost a lot of seniors last year like Evans did, and I think considering that we've pulled together well," Hitt said.
Lakeside entered the week with a 9-5 overall record. The Lady Panthers next will travel to Aiken for a Saturday tournament before returning to Area 2-AAAA play next Tuesday at Greenbrier.
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