McALESTER — Championships lead to memories. Not just for the players who win them, but for the fans who watch them as well.
McAlester senior Skyler LeFors remembers watching the 2006 McAlester volleyball team that won a state championship. She said Wednesday that memory led to her joining the volleyball team at Puterbaugh Middle School in seventh grade.
“It’s more of a mental sport,” LeFors said Wednesday. “If you get down, you have to bring yourself back up, or you won’t play well.”
LeFors played two years of junior-high volleyball, then moved up to the varsity for her freshman year. She first started getting playing time in her sophomore year.
“My first varsity game, it was very nerve-wracking, because I was kind of scared to play with the older girls,” LeFors said. “But it’s a lot better to play at a faster pace.”
Having always been a setter, LeFors has evolved into the Lady Buffs’ second setter in their 6-2 offense this year. With two setters, McAlester now has three potential front-row hitters on any given play.
“She’s being more intentional in her footwork with her setting,” coach Anita Burns said. “She’s very intentional. You can hear it in the gym, you can hear Skyler (stepping) left-right, left-right. And she’s on the balls of her feet like we’re asking her to be, pushing with her legs.
“She’s absolutely become a leader this year, reaching out to the underclassmen and really trying to make them feel welcome.”
LeFors agrees that footwork is something she focuses on when she sets. Knowing her feet are positioned correctly leads to confidence — a necessity for volleyball’s equivalent of a point guard or quarterback.
“You have control of the court, so you get to run the plays and everything,” LeFors said.