Breann Fisher’s senior year at Gardner-South Wilmington got off to a promising start in sports when the girls volleyball team won its first four matches.
The streak ended Sept. 12 with a 25-27, 25-14, 25-18 loss to Grant Park, but Fisher remains optimistic about the Lady Panthers, both in volleyball and in basketball. In the wake of the loss, she shared her thoughts with the Morris Daily Herald.
Q. What did you learn about the team during the 4-0 start?
A. From our 4-0 start I learned that this team never gives up.
Every single girl on the court wants to win, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to win. It doesn’t matter what happens off the court; as soon as we step onto that court, all of our differences disappear and we become a team.
I can already tell that we will be a strong team.
Q. In the past, GSW players have talked about needing to learn how to win, so to speak, in volleyball. Does it seem the team has done that?
A. I believe that we have found what we need to do to win. I think before in volleyball we didn’t work as well together as a team. We would get mad at each other and just bring each other down instead of encouraging each other to do better.
This year we work together as a team and someone’s mistake isn’t just their mistake it is everyone’s mistake. Our biggest improvement is the drive to never give up.
In the past that was a major issue. We would get a run and let it get to our heads and then stop playing and dig a hole we couldn’t get ourselves out of.
Most importantly, I think we all want to win, and that is the biggest step toward winning.
Everyone has to want it as bad as the next girl, and we all want that win.
Q. Has your hot start created more excitement about the volleyball team around school than you remember in past years?
A. Our hot streak has started some excitement throughout the school. There are a lot more congratulations and good jobs from students and faculty. Slowly, more and more people are coming out to the games to watch us play.
I love seeing more people coming out and supporting us because not only does the team want to win for ourselves, but we also want to win for our school and community.
Plus, the more fans we have, the more pumped up we get.
Q. Is there one specific part of the game the team is doing better this year than last?
A. The one specific place our team has improved in is passing. We have never been a passing team. Passing was something we had always struggled with.
I think we have a very strong back row this year with Sophie Barna as our libero. She isn’t afraid to get on the ground after a ball.
Ally Matthews has also improved immensely since last year. She is very quick in the back row and often gets many saves. Because our passing has improved so much, everything else is able to fall together. We are able to play defense better and get the ball back quicker.
With better passing we are able to get a good sets for the hitters who are then able to hit better.
Q. How big an advantage is coach [Melissa] Cardone and the fact that she coached most, if not all, of you in junior high?
A. [Having] Coach Cardone for, not only two years of high school, but also two years of grade school, is a huge advantage I believe.
We are used to her teaching methods. We know what she expects out of us and work hard to fulfill her expectations. Because we have been with Cardone for so long, we are able to be on a more personal level.
She knows what we are capable of doing and pushes us to our full potential. I think all of the girls are more comfortable with her, too, and aren’t afraid to go talk to her if they ever need anything.
Q. You were All-(River Valley) Conference and your team’s offensive player of the year in 2012. What did those honors mean to you?
A. Winning All-Conference and offensive player was a dream come true. I constantly push myself to be a better player for not only myself but also for my team. Winning such big awards tells me that my hard work has paid off.
Q. How did you get started playing volleyball and basketball?
A. I started playing basketball first. I had always liked basketball when we would play it in P.E so I decided in fifth grade to go out for the team. I have been playing ever since. Volleyball, on the other hard, was more spur of the moment. I knew volleyball season was coming up and just decided that it sounded fun and went out for the team my seventh-grade year. I had never touched a volleyball before that first practice, but as soon as I got my hand on a ball, I fell in love.
Q. During the summer, how do you divide your time getting ready for both sports?
A. I have never had any trouble juggling both sports. During the summer, I would usually have volleyball open gym in the morning and then basketball open gyms in the afternoon. Sadly this summer I was not able to make it to any volleyball open gyms due to work. But I know that my teammates worked very hard this summer preparing for the season. With basketball open gyms being is the afternoon, I was able to attend a few of those this summer. From just a few basketball open gyms I can see that we will have a strong team of a group of girls who are willing to work hard and fight for a win. I do have to take time out of my life for sports, but I believe it is definitely worth it because sports are such a huge part of my life.
Q. You’ve had success in both sports. Do you define yourself as more of a basketball player or a volleyball player, or as both? Do you enjoy one more than the other?
A. I wouldn’t consider myself a volleyball person or a basketball person. I love each sport equally and for different reasons. I love both of them because they are team sports and require people to work together. Neither sport can be won with one person. I have always loved volleyball because it has a rhythm; bump, set, spike. I love the feeling of when my team falls into that perfect rhythm. I also love that every point counts. There is no time limit, the game isn’t over until the score reads 25. I love basketball because I feel like it imposes more of a challenge. It is more of a physical sport and you have to be tough in order to succeed. It is also more physically tiring. I enjoy the work of running up and down the court and pushing through defense to make a basket. I wouldn’t say that I am better at either sport. I think my skill level is about equal in each sport. I push myself just as hard in basketball as I do volleyball and it has paid off in each sport.
Q. Have you set any specific goals for yourself this year, in either sport?
A. Every year I set goals for myself. My main goal is to just simply improve. If I become an even better player at the end of the season, I feel I have accomplished something. Of course I would love to win some awards this year in both sports, and I know that in order to do that I need to work ten times harder than I ever have. And I plan on doing just that.