SPORTS HEADLINES

Herculean effort turns Decatur’s Finney into viral sensation

By Richard Greene | Published Sunday, October 22, 2017
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Seeing the ball sailing out of bounds Friday in the third set against rival Krum, Decatur senior Autumn Finney took flight to save the ball.
Jumping several feet and diving over a teammate Tayte Helton, Finney somehow not only got to the ball, but sent it back over her head and over the net to keep the point alive. Decatur eventual won the point and the set.
Video of Finney’s Herculean effort by Saturday morning turned her into a viral sensation. It has been viewed several thousands of times. She even landed on the ESPN Sports Center’s Top Plays.


But the biggest surprise for Finney was the tweet from Olympian gold medalist and volleyball star Kerri Walsh Jennings.
“When she recognized me, it was incredible. I couldn’t believe what was happening,” Finney said. “She said, ‘I could watch this all day.’ Kerrie has been my idol since I knew what volleyball was. It’s just crazy.”


Playing her former school, Finney claimed she approached the play as any other.
“I just have such a passion for the game. Every ball means that much to me,” Finney said. “I wasn’t thinking, I’m going to fly through the air and get this ball.”
When she got to the ball, she punched at it with all her might and hoped.
“I was giving it a Hail Mary at that point,” Finney said.
Finney didn’t stay on the floor long, hustling back to the net and getting another dig. The point eventually ended with a Krum error.
“After the play I was so out of breath. I didn’t scream. I opened my mouth and nothing came out,” Finney said.
Krum went on to win the match in four games.
After the match, Finney saw the video for the first time that was shot by teammate Mallory Downe’s sister, Macy.
“I thought it was cool. I asked her to send it me,” Finney said. “My mom was late and missed the play. There was a traffic accident and back up. She was mad she missed it. I told her, ‘Don’t worry you can watch it any time now.’”
Finney said the timing of the viral video is “crazy” with her spending the past several weeks writing essays with her college applications.
“I’ve been writing these college essays and they’ve all been about not settling,” Finney said. “And now this happens.
“You should never wait for someone else to do something. Be the change you want on the court or in the world for that matter.”

http://twitter.com/SportsCenter/status/921847612449357829

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