Claim to fame: Denney is a two-year varsity starter at libero for the Lady Knights (33-4, 9-1 8-5A), who secured its first playoff berth in six years with Tuesday’s home sweep of Waco Midway. Denney, who’s older sister Taylor played from 2008-10, is the team’s emotional center and leads Heights with 258 digs — nearly 100 more than anyone else.
Are you surprised by the success this team has had this season?
“I think this team actually has the most potential out of every year that I’ve seen — my sister’s varsity years and me being on varsity last year. It’s that we’ve played together for so long, and we have so much chemistry, that it all feeds into each other in the way you play.”
How have you seen this program grow under (head coach Chris) Wiley?
“I’ve seen it grow a lot. Because I remember when my sister was here, they did a lot more conditioning and now we focus on what we need to accomplish and what you need to do to get yourself better.”
What’s it like following in your sister’s footsteps in the program?
“I’ve always been really competitive against her, like when I was a setter, I always tried to do better than her and so much more than her. But I learned through that, like, setting’s not my thing and I should focus more on passing. Even (Taylor) has noticed that I’ve become a better passer.”
Did you learn anything from watching your sister?
“Watching her, I’ve learned to be more competitive and I’ve learned to strive to be good. So it really helped to watch her play.”
If you went head-to-head with Taylor in a game of volleyball, who would win?
“Well, not to toot my own horn, but I’d say it’d be me. I’m taller and stronger than she is — when we used to lift weights, I’d try to beat her in weights too.”
How do you see your role on this year’s team?
“My energy, my support in everything, whenever it’s high, my team is high as well. So I feel like I’m a leader even when I don’t try to be a leader.”
You also seem to have a lot of fun between games, what’s with all the dancing?
“When I hear the songs come on, I naturally like to dance to them, and I like to pick my team up. So if I see somebody’s down, I do my little thang and I try to make them laugh and smile.”
So, since you’re clearly a fan of music, what’s playing on your iPod right now?
“The new Kanye West album. Man, I’m in love with that thing. I keep that on replay all the time on the iPhone, I’m always listening to that.”
Contact Alex Byington at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7566