Looking up and down the Decatur Lady Eagle roster, talent can be found at every position. That depth helped account for the success they enjoyed last year, and the top-ten ranking they carry with them currently.
One of the big reasons Decatur is off to a 25-6 start this season, is junior outside hitter Makayla Mayfield.
She has been on a tear in the first month of the season. Mayfield leads the team in kills, digs and aces.
“She’s really stepping it up this season,” Decatur coach Claire Benedict said. “She is leading our stats in almost every area right now.
“I’m proud of her for taking on this role and figuring out she is defintely a leader.”
With a tougher pre-district schedule in 2013, Mayfield has been putting up those gaudy numbers against mostly higher-ranked and bigger schools.
She says the stiffer competition has been good for the team.
“We’ve had a lot of tougher games this year to prepare us for the end of the season,” Mayfield said. “It’s making us better.
“I just try to continue to get better for the team and do whatever needs to be done.”
Mayfield has accumulated 214 kills, 236 digs and 27 aces. Her performance on the court and quiet demeanor have vaulted her into a leadership position.
“She’s a little quieter than most of the girls on our team,” Benedict said. “She doesn’t neccessairly vocally attract a lot of attention, but she’s demanding the ball by the way she’s playing.”
Setter Stormi Leonard says Mayfield has moved her game to another level this season.
“She is really putting the ball away,” Leonard said. “She’s the smartest on the team when it comes to making shots. She makes other blockers look bad because she’s so good at using the ball against them.”
Mayfield hit a tremendouse groove toward the end of last season and had 17 kills and nine digs in the regional final loss to Argyle.
“The ability she’s showing has always been there, but now she’s picking the right time to utilize all her tools,” Benedict said. “The girls know that they can rely on her.”
With the talent and experience all coming together, it should equal another exciting season for the Lady Eagles. One that might take them another step deeper in the playoffs.
“I want to make it further than we made it last year,” Mayfield said. “We want it so much more. Last year the expectations weren’t as high. With so many of us back again this year we have high hopes to go further in the playoffs.”
That five-set loss in the regional final still drives the team to not let it happen again. They hope their determination will propel them over that hurdle this time around.
“Losing is basically our drive,” Leonard said. “This year there is so much more pressure on us. It’s helped us a lot in preparing for those situations, so we won’t be six points short of going to state this year.”