Volleyball: Role reversal – Finney relishes opportunity to lead new team

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, September 23, 2017
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Digging New Digs

DIGGING NEW DIGS – Autumn Finney leads the Decatur Lady Eagles into 9-4A play on a four-match winning streak. She has averaged 10.2 kills in her past four matches. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Playing last year at Krum, Autumn Finney found herself on the court surrounded by upperclassmen.

A year later as the District 9-4A season starts, Finney is relishing the chance to play with her new team and in a very different role as one of the few Decatur seniors.

Decatur opened 9-4A play at home Friday against rival Bridgeport.

“It’s definitely a lot different,” Finney said. “Last year, it was seven seniors and I was one of the only underclassmen. It’s nice having this role. I’ve always been the youngster.”

Finney transferred from Krum to Decatur last spring. She immediately made an impact on the track for Decatur. She won the 9-4A title in the long jump and helped the 4×100 set the school mark in winning the league title.

A second-team all-district performer last year on Krum’s region tournament team, it didn’t take Finney long to make a mark on her new team. In the Lady Eagles’ first match, Finney buried 11 kills.

“She’s a spark plug,” said Decatur coach Clark Oberle. “She gets super fired up and brings out the best in everyone.”

As a young team with a pair of freshmen in the starting rotation, Decatur started slow, dropping six of their first eight matches. The Lady Eagles have since gone 14-4 and entered district on a four-match winning streak.

“In the beginning, it was rough with a brand new team,” Finney said. “But I’ve noticed how people have really stepped up, especially when I had to sit for a game or two.”

Over her last four matches, Finney has averaged 10.2 kills, impressive for a player well under 6-feet tall. For the season, she’s at 2.78 kills per set.

Due to her lack of size, she never takes a swing for granted.

“I have to give 100 percent,” Finney said. “Because I’m not 6-2, I have to make sure all the fundamentals are there.”

Because of the work that goes into it, Finney is more than a little enthusiastic after seeing the ball hit the floor.

“It’s such an amazing adrenaline rush. But behind it, there’s a perfect pass and set,” Finney said. “You’re excited to give the team this.”

Besides her ability to put the ball down, Finney is also one of the team leaders in digs.

“She’s explosive and can jump. But she also has good lateral movement. That’s why she plays all six rotations for us,” Oberle said.

While enjoying her new role and team, Finney admittedly is looking forward to playing her old squad, Krum. The first of two regular season meetings is Oct. 3 in Decatur.

“I am excited to play them,” Finney said. “I know a lot about them.”

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