Goldsboro Haley Phillip’s may be friendly and bubbly off the volleyball court, but you do not want to mess with her on the court during a match.
This week’s Female Athlete of the week impressively flips the switch and rises to the occasion while inspiring her teammates.
A nightmare for opposing teams, Phillips made varsity as a freshman and quickly blossomed into a starter and realized she belonged on the volleyball court.
“Volleyball is defiantly my passion,” Phillips said.
Goldsboro is loaded with talent this season, and Phillips has been a critical contributor every step of the way over the past four years.
One of five seniors on the roster, Phillips believes the program’s future is bright, and she is doing everything she can to ensure the next generation is ready to take the lead when the time comes.
However, this season she is helping the Cougars through a challenging yet exciting year unlike any other.
“This season, I was very scared, and we are lucky to have a season, so I know that every time I go onto the court, I give everything I have because tomorrow we may not be able to play,” Phillips said.
Phillip’s journey as a volleyball player began back in middle school. She picked up the sport in seventh grade, and it did not take much time for her to sharpen her skills on the court, which prepared her for high school competition when her freshman year came.
After gaining experience as a freshman, she was a key piece for the Cougars the following year and helped them reach the third round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 2A playoffs.
Her game continued to expand as a junior, and this year she has taken yet another step and is eager for one final playoff run with her teammates.
In 254 sets played, Philips posted 452 kills, 442 digs, 154 aces and 36 blocks.
“I’ve been playing volleyball since the seventh grade, and the first time I stepped into the court, I fell in love with it,” Phillips said. “Volleyball was my escape at first, but it quickly became my passion, and I just wanted to eat, sleep and breathe volleyball, so I’d go home and practice. Then on the court, I’d give it everything I had.
“It just became a lifestyle for me.”
The University of Mount Olive commit credits her coaches for taking her under their wing and allowing her to feel welcome while also pushing her along the way.
Now she tries to do the same with the younger players, just like the upperclassmen did for her. Phillips, who also plays soccer, said it is great to have a natural bond on and off the court with her teammates.
Despite all the unique wrinkles surrounding the volleyball season, Phillips is thrilled to have a senior season, and she is cherishing every moment.