As a freshman, Emma Luce put up some impressive numbers on the volleyball court. Her 266 kills had Meeker just one match away from reaching the Class 2A semifinals last year.
Now, she has ambitions of taking her team further and her style of play is helping to make the entire team better across the board.
The 2A No. 3 Cowboys have looked strong all season as they've built a 10-0 heading into the final weekend of the regular season. After finishing 80th in the state in total kills last year, Luce sits atop the leaderboard across all classifications in 2021.
She's put the ball down 245 times and she could get it down another 245 times this year and the feeling will never get old for her.
"It does not," Luce said. "I wish I could have that (feeling) with every set. It's a great feeling."
And it has been such a vital part of the team's success. Volleyball is far from a one-player sport and there are so many qualities that make up a championship team. But there is no denying that having a player like Luce on the roster, whether it be in a match or just in practice, has made Meeker a better team throughout the season.
"Since last summer she a grown as a player and it has made us all better," coach Greg Cravens said. "Just the other night, I had her hitting against the varsity girls. They were telling me that they're getting better because they can dig what Emma is hitting at them."
And that number shows up on the stat sheet as well. When it comes to the kills, Luce does the bulk of the work as her 245 make up more than 68 percent of the team's total number.
She also leads the team in digs with 192, but receives so much support from the rest of the rotation. Lea Knapp has 120, Sarah Kracht has 99 and Aspen Merrifield has 94.
In fact, Luce only accounts for 29 percent of the Cowboys' total digs on the year. And in 27 fewer sets played so far this year, she has already has nearly three times as many digs as she totaled as a freshman.
Since the end of last fall, she's done everything she can think of to grow as a volleyball player.
"My offseason consisted of being in the weight room and playing a lot of beach volleyball," she said. "I'm always getting touches and I'm always in the gym and I think that helps me a lot."
And although there was no track season last year, she does run track. Being a multi-sport athlete has been beneficial to her development in her sport of choice.
"Learning form and being able to stay athletic in any sport really helps you out," she said. "That's having leg strength, always being in the gym and getting reps running and that includes high jump. High jump helps your vertical so much. And every sport also helps you remain disciplined."
All those attributes have been essential in her development. Even though she is just a sophomore, she has grown into solid all-around volleyball player and a dominant hitter.
And in the coming weeks, she's going to put that ability on display in the girls volleyball playoffs.