It was while watching her play in the sixth grade that Flowery Branch volleyball coach Bryan Mavis knew he had something special in setter Jennica Ramey.
"Her leadership ability is innate," Mavis said. "You can’t coach that and she showed it back then."
It was from that first glimpse that Mavis began working with Ramey to ensure that the skills of his future standout equalled the incomparable leadership abilities already displayed.
And it paid off.
In 2008, her senior season, Ramey led the Lady Falcons to a 34-12 record while amassing 833 assists, both program bests.
"You always try to make (your senior year) the most memorable," Ramey said. "I’m just so glad it went well."
It’s for her efforts that Ramey is The Times 2008 Volleyball Player of the Year.
"Jennica understands the game," said her teammate since the eighth grade Megan Grewett. "She know that it takes a team to win and has always been a great team player, captain and awesome motivator.
"I believe our team has done as well, and gone as far as they have, due to her leadership skills."
According to Mavis, a setter’s role on the court is synonymous with that of a quarterback or point guard.
They are looked at to get the team in its offense, distribute the ball efficiently and make sure the right hitters are set up perfectly for a kill.
"My assists are based on others kills," Ramey said. "I’m lucky that everyone and everything clicked this year."
It goes with the territory that setters are also the pulse of a team.
"I was looked at as a leader," Ramey said. "I didn’t understand that totally until this year, but it was my job to keep everyone encouraged."
"In any clinics and camps we’ve gone to, Jennica is recognized as the one that everyone needs to work as hard as," Mavis said. "She set the bar especially in her position.
"The girls coming behind her are comparing themselves to her."
Which could bode well for the future of the Falcons’ program considering that Ramey is, according to Mavis, "One of the more competitive athletes (he’s) ever coached.
"She wants to be able to do everything," he said. "She’s very much a profectionist and hard on herself before anyone else to the point of blaming herself for any loss."
With Ramey graduating, Mavis is looking forward to seeing what happens when the player who provided complete team leadership is gone.
"Several girls are wanting to step up and do the job she alone did," Mavis said. "The shoes are there to fill, but they are very big shoes."