by Aaron Garcia
There had to be some trepidation in Brook Hammers’ mind when one of her senior stalwarts suggested a position switch before the volleyball season. Entering the fall, the Marvin Ridge Mavericks were expected to build on 2009’s record of 13-8, which was the best season in school history.
Obviously, Jacqui Spurgeon’s presence at middle hitter had worked last year, so why change?
But Spurgeon, who stands 6 feet, wanted to give it a try because colleges were looking at her as more of an outside hitter, which utilized more athleticism than the middle spot. So the coach gave it a shot, and the results were impressive.
During the 2010 season, Spurgeon was, simply put, the most dominant player in Union County. She led all area players with 278 kills and sported an impressive .349 hitting percentage. Furthermore, she notched 89 digs and returned 180 serves with only 18 errors. The Mavericks finished the year with a 21-4 record, including a 12-0 mark in the Southern Carolina 3A/4A conference, which earned Spurgeon the league’s player of the year honors.
Now, she can add 2010 Union County Weekly Volleyball Player of the Year to her list.
“She played some very phenomenal games for us,” said Hammers. “She shut down some really good teams defensively with her blocking and offensively with her swings.”
Spurgeon learned at a young age that developing versatility in volleyball was key to fulfilling her lifelong dream of continuing her career in college, which she’ll do at Appalachian State in the fall. By being so versatile, Spurgeon developed an affinity for influencing matches in ways other than simply blistering shots at her opponents’ feet.
“When I’m not in the front row, I know that my hitters that are up (in the front row) want a good pass, so it’s nice to be able to help them get what they want,” said Spurgeon, who also proved she’s a capable defender at the net or on the back line.
But with all the improvement taking place, Spurgeon said she never lost sight of what gave her the biggest edge through the years.
“I like to try to make a name for myself because I think intimidation is a big factor,” Spurgeon said. “So I think at first it was a surprise, but then people started to realize that I’m not just one-dimensional, which is what I’ve worked at (avoiding).”
Which is even more intimidating.