Entering the 2012 season, a lot was expected of Copperas Cove senior Arielle Garcia. With the district MVP Amy Rosenbaum departing to begin her collegiate career at Baylor, Garcia tweaked her game in order to fill the void at setter. So far, the transition has been virtually seamless as she ranks in the top five on the team in almost every major statistic, including leading the team in assists and serving percentage. More importantly, she helped the No. 15 Lady Bulldawgs (33-6, 12-0 District 8-5A) clinch the district championship with a straight-set win against state-ranked Harker Heights on Tuesday.

How does it feel to be district champions?

“It feels good, but we have to finish the season. We have to make sure we play good games Friday (at Belton) and Tuesday (at Killeen).”

Well, now that you have a district title, what else do you want to accomplish in your senior year?

“I would like to get all-district setter. This is my first year setting besides backup setting last year, and it would really mean a lot if I got that in my senior year with this being my first time setting.”

What has that transition in positions been like for you this year?

“It was really challenging in the beginning, but I’ve warmed up to it. Because I used to backup set last year, I didn’t really touch as many balls with my hands, but I’ve gotten a lot better since last year.”

How did your experience last year help make the transition easier?

“I knew to be alert, be very alert. I knew if Amy got the ball, I knew I had to be quick on my feet and make sure I got there. I learned that I have to be persistent with my hands.”

Outside of volleyball, what do you enjoy doing at school?

“Actually, my art class is pretty fun. I’m actually pretty good at art. I’m better than I thought I was. My teacher puts a lot of my stuff in a little showcase thing. One time we drew to music, and I made this weird monster-type thing, and she liked it.”

Are you a pretty creative person by nature?

“Yes, I like to create a lot of stuff. I scrapbook a lot.”

Other than art, what are some of your other interests?

“I play volleyball, and that is about it.”

Volleyball only lasts so many months. What about the rest of the year?

“I know, but then I have club (volleyball). I’m getting ready for college, and, hopefully, I’ll get recruited and all that good stuff.”

Are you interested in playing anywhere in particular?

“Yeah, I am, but it is tough. I don’t know yet. I’ve got to keep looking into some schools and see what all they offer. I definitely plan on playing somewhere, though.”

Obviously, volleyball takes up a lot of your time. How do you balance your athletic and academic schedules?

“I make sure I put school first because I want to keep playing. Other than that, it is not too hectic. I can pretty much split the two.”

Does it take a lot of discipline?

“Oh, yes. If we have a late game, I have to make sure I go home and do my homework for the next day if I haven’t done it already. I don’t just let it pile up and try to do all of it at once. I have to make sure I do it.”

Contact Clay Whittington at clayw@kdhnews.com

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