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Williams, Alma Host Charleston 8/23/21

Williams, Alma host Charleston

By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools


Jenna Williams didn’t write the words to the Beach Boys’ 1963 tune “Be True To Your School.”

But if there were a second version, the Alma junior would be all over it. 

"Wearing the uniform, you are saying that you are going to be committed to the team no matter what," Williams said. "If someone is struggling, you pick them up. And if you're struggling, someone is picking you up. 

"If you want to wear the uniform, then you have to be responsible enough to live up to the responsibilities that come with it.”

The Lady Airedales open the regular season Monday against Charleston. 

Competition isn’t just about wins and losses, either. For Jenna Williams, an outside hitter who has earned the right to play through all six rotations, volleyball is about friendships. 

"Competing is something that I really like to do because it gives me a chance to create bonds and friendships outside of school," Williams said. "It's not something I ever try to take for granted because I know not everybody can (play). 

"Luckily to be able to get to do it, I get to grow and make new friends."

Alma hopes the first two weeks of the season lead to big things when the Lady Airedales open 5A-West play on Sept. 9 against Vilonia. 

"Last year was a really strange year," Williams said. "We had to stay apart so much just to be able to have a spring game. Being able to interact with each other has been a whole lot better for our team. Coming into the new year, it's been really positive."

Alma had some highs and lows during last week’s Benefit Showcase at Airedale Arena. 

"I think it was really good for us," Williams said. "The things we could do really stood out. We were like, 'OK, we're here for business.' 

"I think our communication on the court has to be a little bit better."

In last week's showcase, Alma won a match they probably should have lost in the opener.

Against Springdale, they dropped the opener after running out to a quick 11-3 advantage. 

"We have to keep our energy up throughout the entire match," Williams said. "When you have a run of seven or eight points, we have to be able to keep the lead. It's not like we're trying to be cocky, we just have to be in command a lot better."

Williams’ level of play has improved astronomically since the spring, with last week’s showcase being the topper.

"I was allowed to play all the way around in all six rotations," she said. "If you would have looked at me two months ago, where I was passing and my defense was horrible, the improvement over the last couple of months has been big. Usually, I'm an outside hitter, but as coach Weaver says, 'You're a volleyball player, so you play everywhere.' 

"That's my goal ... to help the team."

Williams said Weaver deserves a lot of the credit. 

“She coaches in a way that we haven’t necessarily been coached before, to do our best and holding us accountable when we need it,” Williams said. “She’s brought great energy; she has been able to push us to our limits.”