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Athlete of the Week: Amanda Daniel

Daniel sets table for Dragons

POSTED: September 6, 2011 10:43 p.m.

Jefferson’s head coach Mike Paul says being the setter on a volleyball team is similar to the quarterback on a football team, only a setter has to lead the offense and defense. He knows he has a special setter in senior Amanda Daniel.

“She is an extension of the coaching staff on the court,” Paul said.

The Lady Dragons run a 5-1 alignment, which means they have one setter on the court who is responsible for changing defensive tactics and offensive maneuvers on the fly during each point.

“Amanda keeps up with who has the hot hand and distributes them the ball,” Paul said. “We want the offense to run through her, and she has to read the defense and make adjustments.”

So far this season, Daniel has done everything asked of her with 143 assists, 21 kills, 19 aces for the Lady Dragons (7-2), right down to the opening coin toss.

“The only two games we’ve lost all year happened when I lost the coin toss.” Daniel said.

For her 61 assists, four digs and four kills last week in three wins, Daniel, the Jefferson record holder for careers assists and digs, has been selected as The Times Athlete of the Week.

Six years ago, the Daniel family helped get volleyball started at Jefferson.

Christy Daniel, Amanda’s mother and now a volunteer assistant coach for the varsity team, was a coach in Florida before moving to Georgia. She wanted to continue coaching and share the game with her daughters, so she started coaching the middle school program and has moved to the varsity team along with her daughters.

“I’ve always wanted to be involved in my daughters’ lives and to have them pushed to succeed," she said.

Playing any sport at the varsity can be tough, especially if the coach comes home to eat dinner with you and sleeps under the same roof.

“It is definitely different to have your mom as a coach because it follows you home.” Amanda said, adding that she would not have it any other way. “I respect her not only as my mom, but also as a coach.”

Daniel said only a few of her friends had ever played volleyball and she spent basketball season to recruit her teammates to the volleyball squad.

“It’s been cool to watch the program grow from the beginning.” she said.

This season’s graduating class will be the first to have started playing volleyball together in seventh grade. There are nine seniors, including five who start, on the Lady Dragons’ senior-laden team.

Daniel was one of two freshmen to go straight from middle school volleyball to varsity at Jefferson, where she has started all four years.

The Jefferson program has seen tremendous growth in the past six years and Daniel hopes this year will be the year Jefferson will finally capture the Region 8-AA crown and put a banner up in the gym.

“She is a leader with a servant’s heart.” Paul said. “As setter, she does not get the credit for big kills, but none of the highlights would happen without her.”



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