Hernando native Norris named among trio of court leaders
Photo: Serving as team captains for Northeast Mississippi Community College’s inaugural volleyball team are (from left) Giselle Lopez of Belmont, Irby Norris of Hernando and Kami Wilf of Amory. (Photo credit: Michael H. Miller/Northeast Public Information)
The Northeast Mississippi Community College volleyball program went to the polls just as citizens around the country did last week to elect its on-court leaders.
The trio of Giselle Lopez, Irby Norris and Kami Wilf were voted by their peers as team captains for the Lady Tigers’ inaugural season.
“This is a well-rounded group of captains that covers all the areas of the floor,” said Northeast head coach Brenda Mayes. “Whether we’re running outside or in the weight room or doing a drill, they’re constantly encouraging their teammates.”
Lopez helped Belmont High School win back-to-back state titles as their libero. She represented the Lady Cardinals in the Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC) All-Star Game prior to her senior campaign.
She accumulated 468 digs with only 11 errors plus 80 assists during her pair of seasons at the varsity level. Lopez also brought division defensive player of the year honors home to Belmont one season ago.
“I get to lead the first year of a good program. I want this to be the start of something that’s going to be a legacy,” Lopez said. “We’re a hard-working team and we’re just ready for whatever comes our way.”
Norris is one of the tallest athletes on Northeast’s roster with a height of just under six feet. She guided Hernando High School to the state quarterfinals last fall as one of its outside hitters.
“It’s an opportunity to better the program and start it off great,” Norris said. “Even though we’re a first-year program, I think that we have a great set of girls. I’ve definitely been impressed.”
Wilf did a little bit of everything for Amory High School during its run to a division championship. She posted 93 digs, 45 kills, 42 service aces and 10 blocks as a senior for the Lady Panthers.
However, she earned Amory’s best offensive player award because of her setting abilities. Wilf topped the Lady Panthers with 315 total assists for an average of 11.7 per contest.
“Being a captain means I’m trusted by my teammates. They believe in me to be the best leader I can be for the team,” said Wilf. “I’m excited to play with all these girls. Things are coming together good.”
After a late scheduling change, the Lady Tigers will open their season by visiting Bevill State (Ala.) Community College on Tuesday, Aug. 22. Northeast’s first home match is six days later versus Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) University’s junior varsity club.