Hazen Block Party
By Jarann Johnson
Most people get excited when they check their mail and see an invite from the neighbors to a weekend block party. It’s a different kind of block party when teams face the Hazen Bison volleyball team and most want nothing to do with it.
The leaders of the block party are senior middle Autumn Johnson and junior Eva Byerley. Johnson has the archetypal presence and build at 6-foot-2 with long arms.
Byerley is just under the 6-foot barrier at 5-foot-11 but has the coveted long arms that coaches want in a middle. Both players have good size for high school middles, but head coach Linette Irwin thinks her inside duo blocks strongly because of other characteristics as well.
“Their size helps, obviously, but they are really quick, experienced, have really good form and they are really coachable kids. So, they do good things. They are very enthusiastic about it,” Irwin said.
Even though both players share plenty of the same characteristics, they focus on different things when they’re blocking. Johnson focuses on making sure the ball goes straight down instead of deflecting out of bounds or down on her team’s side of the net for a point.
“For me I really just kind of focus on penetrating, pushing my hands over the block and down – that way it goes straight down instead of hitting off,” Johnson said.