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Carly Robertson remembers being a bundle of nerves during Columbus East’s run to the Class 4A volleyball final four her freshman year.
Olympians coach Faith Wilder-Newland didn’t notice.
Robertson’s steady presence helped East come within one game of the state finals in 2010, and that same presence has the senior leading East to a 9-3 record and 4A No. 10 ranking heading into tonight’s game against Perry Meridian.
“Carly has always been steady and has always played with the sense of being a cool character under pressure,” Wilder-Newland said.
The Robertson file
Name: Carly Robertson
School: Columbus East
Position: Right-side hitter/all-around
Key stats: 90 kills, 100 digs, 19 aces
“Especially when she was a freshman, she was very surprising that as a rookie, she came in and played on a team that was in the final four and never seemed panicked or afraid in pressure situations.”
Robertson, though, admits it was nerve-racking.
“I remember the first few times she put me out there, I was nervous,” Robertson said. “But I got the hang of it. I learned a lot from my seniors and from the upperclassmen, so I grew comfortable with it.
“My focus on the court has changed,” she said. “I’m not as nervous. I’m more determined to keep my head in the game and not freak out.”
Now, Robertson is one of those seniors who tries to be a model of composure for a roster filled with underclassmen.
“As seniors, it’s our job to be the leaders of the team and to kind of be the examples they look up to,” Robertson said.
As she has done her entire career at East, the 5-foot-9 Robertson plays all-around. She enjoys making a dig just as much as a kill.
“Defense is key to winning games, but offense is also fun,” Robertson said.
Last year, Robertson tied for the team lead with 45 aces and finished second on the regional championship squad with 263 digs. This year, she leads the team with 19 aces and ranks second with 90 kills and third with 100 digs.
“She’s especially good at hitting deceptive shots at the net,” Wilder-Newland said. “She’s good about seeing the court, seeing the block and hitting around it. She’s pretty steady in the back row and a good server.
“She’s consistent from one day to the next,” she said. “She’s not up and down all the time.”
Senior setter Faith Myers, who has played with Robertson for several years, agreed.
“She has probably been one of my all-time favorite players to play with because she’s so consistent and so smart that honestly, she makes me look good,” Myers said. “She’s been a constantly great player that I can rely on anytime.”
That’s been a big key for the Olympians, who have been without another senior, leading returning hitter Erin Mack, because of an ACL tear.
“We’ve had a lot of adversity, and we’ve had to overcome a lot of injuries, which has definitely been a setback, but we’ve made lots of improvements,” Robertson said.
“I’m really impressed with our sophomores and freshmen. They’ve helped us out a lot.”
Robertson hasn’t been without her own mishaps. She broke her nose and thumb in January while skiing in Colorado and missed two weeks of her club season with Circle City Volleyball.
A few Division III schools have shown interest in Robertson, who is weighing her options.
“I’ve thought about it,” Robertson said. “I’m still keeping my mind open. I’ve talked to a few college coaches but have not decided yet.”
For now, Robertson is focused on helping lead the East to another long tournament run.
“We want to go far this year, as always, and work hard and take care of what we need to do during games,” obertson said.
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