Posted on 18 November 2013 by La Habra Journal
Photo by Meagan Garton, La Habra Journal
by Nathan Percy
La Habra Journal
During her senior season, La Habra volleyball player Corinne Bell has made a habit of moving in an upward direction, both literally and figuratively.
Not only does she possess the jumping ability needed to record big kills as an outside hitter, she’s also proven that she can step up her game in matches against highly ranked opponents.
However, perhaps the most important role for Corinne was rising up as a senior leader, and with the experiences she’s gained through volleyball and off-campus activities, she was well prepared.
“My sophomore year, our seniors had a different way of leadership and it ended up being a really rough season because things weren’t the way they were hoping they would be, so they kind of gave up on the team,” she said. “I came into this year with the attitude of putting the team before myself and trying to get the team to where we wanted to be rather than getting myself to where I wanted to be.”
Due in part to her leadership, the Lady Highlanders made progress throughout the regular season and earned a playoff spot.
Throughout the season, her coach, Adrianne Spear, has made multiple comments about Corinne coming up with big points in key situations.
It’s also prompted a repeated phrase from Spear: “I don’t know where we’d be without her.”
“This season, Corinne played a huge role as a team leader, as well as a well-rounded athlete,” Spear said. “She brought something to the team this year that we had been missing, just that leadership quality. I knew eventually she would grow into that role, I just didn’t know how soon. I’m glad it happened this year, I think this was the best year for it to happen for her.”
The Lady Highlanders needed that leadership to get through its early season struggles.
After a tough nonleague schedule, the team was swept by Fullerton in its Freeway League opener, sending La Habra to perhaps its lowest point of the season.
During that time, Corinne took on a role that made her feel a little uncomfortable, but she knew it had to be done.
“There were three captains this year and I guess I was kind of always the outspoken one,” she said. “I kind of let Maddie [Martin] and Ryana [Murch] keep the team uplifted and then I would be the one in practices that would remind girls to hustle and that we needed to work hard to get to where we want to go. It was hard, I didn’t want them to not like me.”
However, that role came in handy as La Habra was able to turn things around and earn a crucial four-match win streak, which vaulted the team up to second place in the standings.
Despite a slip toward the end of the year, the Lady Highlanders still clinched a guaranteed playoff spot.
“I was incredibly proud of the girls, we had a younger team and it was really exciting to see the light bulb turn on and for them to realize that we could actually do this,” Corinne said. “I think the four straight wins really uplifted the team and made us believe.”
After falling to Sonora in La Habra’s final regular season home game, Corinne and the team got one final chance to play in front of the home crowd when La Habra took on Yorba Linda in the second round of the CIF-SS Division 2A playoffs.
Just like a season ago, it was an opportunity that Corinne took to heart and it showed as she led the team in kills.
“Last year against Camarillo [in the first round of playoffs], that was my biggest match of the season, so it’s kind of a tradition of mine to pull through most during my last game,” she said. “It helped, the assists I got from Ashly [Hernandez], she was putting the ball in the right spots. During the match, I wasn’t really aware of how well I was doing, I just knew I wanted to keep it up.”
For her coach, it was a performance that was expected from a senior who knows when the team needs her to turn it up the most.
“She just knows how to rise to the occasion and I think that comes from heart and desire to win and her love of the game,” Spear said. “That’s her all in one package.”
However, that passion and leadership ability aren’t just limited to the volleyball court.
Corinne also volunteers as a counselor for a summer Christian camp where she works with elementary and junior high kids. She said that the life lessons she learned in volleyball directly translate when it comes to mentoring those youth.
Those traits also led her to start and lead a club on campus during her senior year.
“I think she’s a great role model, she’s really involved with her counseling at camp and she started a club on campus as well this year,” Spear said. “I was very impressed with the fact that she took that on and me, coming from a Christian college, I kind of relate in a way and I think we built a rapport through that.“
While in school, Corinne juggles five Advanced Placement courses, but takes a particular liking to Psychology, which she may study further in college along with athletic training.
In addition, she is also heavily involved in studying German, as she hosted a foreign exchange student this past spring. During winter break, the same family will host her and give her the same experience.
But Corinne also plans on sticking with volleyball past her senior year. She and her coach will continue to work together during club season, during which she will be exposed to college scouts.
While she already possesses the tools necessary to be an asset at the next level, she and her coach both agree on one more thing.
“I feel like I haven’t peaked yet,” she said. “Getting closer to that peak and seeing where it takes me into college, that’s the goal. It’s exciting and scary, but I’m really looking forward to the journey.”
For Corinne, it’s a chance to continue an upward trend.