Green proving to be great player for Lady Panthers

Senior outside hitter and middle blocker Jill Green (#2) takes a powerful swing to give her team a crucial point. (Kathy Canady Photo)

Senior outside hitter and middle blocker Jill Green (#2) takes a powerful swing to give her team a crucial point. (Kathy Canady Photo)

By Taylor Grafft

Senior outside hitter and middle blocker Jill Green has been playing great volleyball for the Liberty Hill Lady Panthers early on this season and was a key player for them in the Leander ISD Volleypalooza last week.

Green is someone that her teammates and Coach Gretchen Peterson can count on to provide that crucial kill from the outside with her powerful swings and winning attitude.

Her presence on the court is easily noticeable because of those powerful swings and serves that leave opponents with little time to react and usually running for cover.

Green started playing volleyball in seventh grade, and was a multi-sport athlete at Liberty Hill. She competed in volleyball, basketball and softball, but was not really sure what sport she wanted to focus on the most until her freshman year of high school.

Once she picked volleyball as her main sport, Green excelled on both the school team and club teams she competed for. Green played on the junior varsity team in her freshman year for the Lady Panthers.

One of the things Green remembers most about her freshman year of volleyball was playing club for the first time with now varsity teammates Jaycie Pluenneke and Peyton Redmond.

“That was the first time I really got into volleyball,” said Green. “Playing with Jaycie and Peyton really helped me a lot. That season really opened my eyes to really loving volleyball and competing at a higher level. Ever since that season my love of volleyball has grown so much.”

One of the key figures in Green’s volleyball career has been her relationship with Coach Peterson.

“She’s like a second mom really,” Green said. “We’re with her every single day whether it’s practice, weekends or games. Our team has a great relationship with her. She’s not afraid to yell to get us going and she’s a really great figure for all the girls.”

Entering her senior season, Green recognizes there is a lot to be achieved and little time to do so. Her main focus, like all of the coaches and her teammates, is getting to the state tournament.

“That’s the goal (getting to the state tournament),” Green said. “Our motto this year is unfinished business because that last game against (Abilene) Wylie was when everything fell apart and we really didn’t get a closing to our season. If we get out in the playoffs this time we at least need to say we went out with all our heart—not just left it unfinished and without closure.”

Green says the main difference from this season to last season is continuing to build that chemistry with the new players and new starters on the court. Green says it was hard replacing Kallie Perrin, Mason and Madi Sharp, but the team is finally getting used to new players on the court. One in particular is Kelly McKinzey, who replaced Perrin this season as the Lady Panthers’ playmaker.

“It’s a lot different not having those three on the court because they played so much last season, especially Kallie,” Green said. “But Kelly is getting a lot of reps and the team is getting used to each other and getting better.”

One teammate that Green speaks highly of is senior libero Payton Walker. She says Walker is someone she is close with that helps push her and her game to the next level.

“Payton always does her best to keep everyone hyped up,” Green said. “She’s the type of person that everyone feeds energy off of. She’s the type of person that I feed off of during games.”

Green is confident that she will play college volleyball following her graduation from Liberty Hill, but she hasn’t quite decided where that will be this early in her senior year.

“I know I’m going to be playing college volleyball, I just don’t know where yet,” Green said. “I’m actually going on official visits next week to schools in Oklahoma and Alabama.”