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Athlete of the Week: Flowery Branch's Jennica Ramey
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FLOWERY BRANCH - For Jennica Ramey, this is it.
A volleyball player for a vast portion of her life, she knows that this year, her senior year at Flowery Branch is more than likely her last on the volleyball court. And she's making every game count.

On Thursday, the senior setter recorded five aces, one kill and 34 assists in the Lady Falcons' two wins over Class AAAAA's Berkmar and Meadowcreek. Those 34 assists vaulted her season total to an area leading 547, an average of 8.04 per game.

"She pretty much picked up where last season left off," said Flowery Branch coach Bryan Mavis, whose team is ranked No. 9 in Class AAA by "She and the rest of the seniors decided that they wanted this to be the strongest year that they've played."

According to Ramey, the combination of a senior laden team has allowed the team to be successful.

"Since we've all been playing together for so long, we've actually put in plays and have been consistent," said the 5-foot-5 Ramey. "We know each other's strong points so we back each other up as much as we can."

Combine that with the knowledge that this may be her final year playing volleyball and she has plenty of motivation to win.

"I want to end with a good high school career," said Ramey, who is trading in her volleyball shorts for a doctor's jacket. In college, she plans on studying medicine, either to become a physical therapist or oncologist, which will leave no room for volleyball.

"I've always wanted to go to a big D-I school," said Ramey, who is considered attending Auburn or Clemson University. "I'm trying to focus on school and get the career started."

An aspired career in medicine does not come as a surprise to her coach, who noticed a special leadership quality when she was in the sixth grade.

"I noticed that where ever she was, there would be a group surrounding her," Mavis said. "When she was able to try out in the eighth grade for JV, suddenly there were girls that weren't interested in volleyball before showing up. And now, they are leaders.

" A lot of these girls play volleyball because she plays volleyball."

Being a leader comes naturally to Ramey, but it also comes with its consequences.

"If we're not playing well, or an individual is not playing well than it can be challenging," Ramey said of leading her friends on the court. "But I always tell everybody that on the court is so different, just in case I sound mean.
"I always let them know that so they don't take it personal."

With her resume' on the court, there's no wonder why her teammates listen. A starter on varsity since her freshman year, she became team captain her sophomore year and has kept the title since. Last year, she set a new school record with 616 assists, and with 547 already this year, is well on her way to shattering that mark.

Still, her work on the court often gets overlooked.

"I know no one pays attention to setters," Ramey said. "But that doesn't bother me."

One person that does pay attention is her coach, who knows that without her, the team would suffer.

"If we didn't have somebody that could deliver the ball, then the hitters wouldn't be able to do anything," Mavis said. "As far as technical stuff is concerned, she's up there with some of the best."

Regardless of her talent, she knows that her career is coming to a close, but volleyball may continue to be a part of her life after high school.

"If there's ever an opportunity then I would take that," she said. "But I haven't put too much thought into it."

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