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West Ranch's Haley Lind: The calm amid the storm

West Ranch’s Haley Lind comes from years of high-level volleyball expierience

Posted: September 30, 2013 10:03 p.m.
Updated: September 30, 2013 10:03 p.m.

West Ranch senior Haley Lind is a four-year varsity player for West Ranch could help the team win its first league title in school history.

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Whenever times get tough, Haley Lind’s mom always reminds her of that winter in Colorado Springs.

Lind was 14 years old and was spending a week training for a USA Volleyball tournament. It was around New Year’s and a massive snowstorm had hit the area, which grounded all planes and prevented her from flying home.

She was forced to stay an extra night in nearby Denver without her parents around. For a young teenager traveling around without her parents, it was a lot to handle.

“Whenever things go bad, I always go back to, ‘Remember that snowstorm?’ This isn’t that bad,” says Haley’s mother, Kim Lind.

Eventually, Haley caught a plane back home and made it through the storm.

But it’s experiences like that through the years that have shaped Lind into the tough-minded volleyball player and mature-beyond-her years person that she is today. The West Ranch senior and fourth-year varsity player is the calm in the storm when her team needs her. She is the stone-faced, reassuring player even in the most chaotic situations.

“I don’t show it as much, but I’m very, very competitive,” Haley says. “I’m always told I’m an intense person, especially when I play. I don’t show my emotions very much because I really want to win.”

Basically, she explained that she never wants her opponents to know what she’s thinking. That also comes from years of experience in the sport. And there likely isn’t a high school player in the Santa Clarita Valley with as much competitive court time under their belt than Haley Lind.

She’s played libero for West Ranch since her freshman year, and she’s been playing libero for various USA Volleyball and club teams for even longer.

She was 13 when she first made a USA Girls’ Select A1 team, which was a collection of 30 of the best players of that age group in the nation.

From there, she went on to qualify for various levels of USA teams through the next three summers. Each team competed at competitions that were held in places all around the country and featured elite level national and international opponents.

In the spring, she plays for her Los Angeles Volleyball Academy age group club team and she’s done that since age 11.

Haley said there are no more than a couple of weeks out of the year when she’s not playing the sport she loves.

“If I had a break more than that, I don’t know, I like being active and I don’t know what I’d do without volleyball,” Lind says.

All of that has made Haley into the highly adept defensive player that she is. And it’s helped her earn a full-ride scholarship to the University of Virginia, which she verbally accepted last November.

She’s scheduled to make an official campus visit on Oct. 18 and she can officially sign with the team in November.

“She brings all the intangibles you would want out of a top-tier player and she’s just got that something special that sets her apart,” says Trevor Julian, a former club coach of Haley’s on why she’s an NCAA Division I caliber player.

And clearly, Haley has perfected the craft of playing libero.

To play the position, a player has to have speed and agility to get to the ball anywhere on the court. More than anything else though, a libero must possess good instincts. And Haley has that part down pat.

“She makes a lot of plays where you go, ‘Wow, how did she get to the ball?’” says West Ranch head coach Gerrit Maxwell.

But there’s another aspect to playing the position that seems to suit Haley’s personality.

It requires a lot of humility given its under-the-radar nature. The libero is typically the first player to touch the ball on a team’s possession. But the glory and attention tend to follow the outside hitters and middle blockers who finishing the play.

Those plays wouldn’t be possible without an accurate pass from the libero.

“Haley is the catcher,” says Kim, who used baseball as an analogy to describe it. “And most people are talking about the pitcher and the hitter that just hit the home run. But the catcher is doing all these important things.”

But being recognized isn’t her main concern. As always, she wants to win and help West Ranch claim its first league title in school history.

As a senior, she wants that more than anything. Just don’t expect her to show it.

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