One thing that Cassandra Arnold does not lack in is a sense of humor.
However, when you get the 5-foot-9 senior from Carrier Mills on the volleyball court, nothing is a laughing matter.
To her credit through hard work and dedication - Arnold’s seriousness has earned her a spot on this summer’s USA Junior National Volleyball Team, which will play in Columbus Ohio during July.
Arnold jokes about hitting a girl in the face with a serve and at times, refuses to say nice things about her coach, Ashley Albritton, but only in her presence.
However, prior to the Wildcats’ season is when Arnold got a little more stern and tweaked a few volleyball techniques to get her on the right path.
Arnold attended a tournament in Springfield after the season and was selected for the National Festival based on statistics and how she played against what Albritton called “the best of the best.”
It’s a honor to be recognized Arnold alluded too, adding that the biggest honor for her will be representing the small town.
“I want more people from small towns to realize that you can go places, you can dream big.”
Albritton echoed many of Arnold’s sentiments.
“That’s the terrible thing is who you know and what school you go to,” Albritton said. “She has tremendous talent, it’s just unfortunate for us that we don’t have the opportunity to showcase it in a lot of events. So this is a great event from someone like Cassandra, being a really good athlete, from a small town to have a little bit of show and tell.
“I think it’s awesome experience. That was my first thought when I got (the letter) in the mail. I told her, ‘You have to do this.’”
In the effort to get recognized, Arnold worked on her serves and hitting where she developed more speed.
“I had a lot of people compliment me on my serves and my spiking,” Arnold said of the event in Springfield.
Arnold was a four-year varsity volleyball starter for Carrier Mills. She was an all-GEC selection her junior and senior year and during her senior season, she averaged 83 precent in spiking, 26 of which resulted in kills. She also blocked 92 spikes and/or tips, 37 of which were blocked for points.
As an outgoing senior, Arnold knows this opportunity in Columbus could be her last shot at any chance of getting noticed by colleges.
She says she is looking at Rend Lake College right now and has a few offers from some northern schools, but still is weighing her options.
As for Albritton, who is still relatively new in the coaching circles, will use Arnold as a model student-athlete for many years to come.
“I wish I had her for two more years. I suppose I could flunk her and somehow make her available.”
Just goes to show that Arnold isn’t the only one who lacks a sense of humor.
Michael Dann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Michael Dann on Twitter @spydieshooter.