Kayla Richard may be a fresh face at Foundation Academy after transferring in from Orlando Christian Prep, but the senior already has found success on the court for the Lions’ volleyball team. As a starting outside hitter, Richard leads the team in kills (145) and is third in digs (175).
When did you get started in volleyball?
My best friend back in seventh grade — she brought me to her church’s minicamp for volleyball, and that’s when I really loved the sport and then I got into mini-club. Then I got into club — I played for OVA for four years — and then I switched last year to LVA out of Oviedo.
What was it about volleyball that kept you interested in the sport?
I just love competition, so I just love being able to get that amazing dig and being challenged by another team to go out and play someone who is better than (us). And just the sport itself — I don’t know, it’s just something that I love to do. I just love the bonds that I get with other girls and meeting other people who I can compare myself to and, in a way, challenge myself.
Describe the transition to Foundation.
Each year — since I’ve been to so many schools — I’m used to being the new girl by this stage. But this school, especially, we had summer training, and I just felt the kindness of the people, and they were completely different than (people at) my other schools, and they were so welcoming with me. This year, we are like a family — we all get along, and we all hang out during school.
What is the biggest challenge when it comes to playing with a new team?
A lot of teams in high school play club together, so they already have that chemistry. When you have so many new girls on the team, it’s hard to trust everyone on the court and know they’re going to be behind me getting that ball in the corner, and so it takes a lot of practice and a lot of communication — it takes a good part of the season for that to happen.
What is the best part about playing outside hitter? The hardest part?
My favorite part is the glory after you get that amazing kill down the line or a cut shot. (It’s) just the glory of that beautiful set coming — you just killing the ball is just amazing. The hardest part is during a rally just getting set — four times in a rally tires you out so much and all the pressure is on you once you get set. I’d say the pressure is probably the hardest part.
You play libero for you club team. Has that helped you at all with your time playing at outside hitter for Foundation?
Being libero helped me with my passing for outside, because now I can pass and be able to get out in transition to hit — it kind of plays in, but they’re completely different.