A junior on the Dr. Phillips volleyball team, Kaley Landis holds down the fort at the outside hitter position for the Panthers — where she enjoys playing both offense and defense. This season the Panthers have found plenty of success, but it’s their big win over rival Windermere that Landis sees as the highlight so far.
When did you first get into volleyball?
I was about 10 years old when I played my first club season at (Orlando Tampa Volleyball Academy), and I just kept playing after that.
What do you enjoy about the sport?
Just having a team to be there for you at all times is very supporting, and when everyone comes together to do one job, it feels very good when you succeed.
What’s been your favorite thing about playing volleyball at Dr. Phillips?
Probably the girls, because I’ve known most of these girls since middle school — I’ve been playing with them since sixth grade. Some of them are seniors, and they’re about to leave — so making every moment count with them.
What’s been the most challenging thing about volleyball?
Proving ourselves this year. We were kind of the underdogs this year on our high-school season, because we were ranked very low. To beat the teams that we are beating now, our ranking keeps going higher and higher, and we’re really proving ourselves to be one of the best teams in the state, and that’s really cool.
What’s been the highlight so far for you this season?
Definitely the Windermere game has been the highlight of the season, because we really came into the game as the underdog. We were ranked very low below them. It was a very big win for Coach Emily (Loftus), too, because she knew the people on the other side of the net. For us to win that game was very special — it was a very big win.
Coming into this season, what were your expectations for the team?
We made goals at the beginning, and our first goals was to win districts and make it to state finals. Setting those big goals really helps us. One of our first goals of the season was to beat Windermere, and we got that done, so our expectations were very high.
What are some of the best words of advice you’ve been given about volleyball?
Just to keep your thoughts out of the game and just think about the game. During high-school volleyball, there’s so much going on — there’s crowds, the loudspeaker — and to just focus on the game is so important.