LAPEL — The Lapel volleyball team has just two seniors on this year’s roster. One is Camryn Carpenter, whose biggest strength as a player last year was her serving. This year, she’s been expected to take on a larger role, not just improving offensively and defensively, but becoming more of a vocal leader.

For the normally quiet Carpenter, this requires a significant step out of her comfort zone.

“My freshman year, I was probably the quietest kid out there,” she said. “I think I’ve been a bit more vocal — I’ve been trying really hard. It is a bit tough for me.”

One thing that makes it a little bit easier for Carpenter is her status as a senior. After back-to-back large graduating classes, she feels more comfortable speaking up now as opposed to years past.

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“A lot of my friends (on the team) are younger than me, so it’s not as intimidating to me now,” she said. “When there were a lot of seniors, I didn’t feel like I could talk over them.”

With plenty of young talent on the team, there is optimism in Lapel that this year’s volleyball squad can make more noise in tournament play.

For Carpenter, success in the postseason is her No. 1 goal.

“I want to go far in Madison County and in sectional,” she said. “That’s always a goal, but I really think we can do that this year. We have a strong front row; we’re still working on the back row, but they’re young — we’re getting there.”

Carpenter played other sports growing up, including softball and basketball, but decided to stick with just volleyball in high school. She said the closeness among the players is what makes volleyball so important to her.

“Volleyball is like you’re in a family,” she said. “When you get a kill, you scream really loud, or when you get a good pass, everyone is so supportive.”

But her passion for school sports extends beyond the volleyball courts.

“When I’m not playing volleyball, I love hanging out with my friends at football games,” she said. “Or basketball games, cheering on Lapel. That’s really what I’m all about — I love coming out here, cheering on the basketball team in the student section.”

After high school, Carpenter plans to study dental hygiene at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

“I’ve always been interested in the medical field,” she said. “I had always thought I was going to be a physical therapist like my mom, but she has steered me away from it due to recent health care cuts threatening the future of the occupation.”

But for now, all Carpenter is thinking about is this season; and when she does, she gets plenty vocal.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “Our team is very strong this year with a lot of strong hitters. Everything needs to be spot-on with plenty of focus. I want everyone to just kill the ball when they hit it.

“I want everyone to be lethal.”

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Rob Hunt covers news, sports and other happenings in South Madison County. He can be reached at rhunt@pendletontimespost.com or (765) 778-2324.