GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Gavit's Amber Earl makes the meaning of team

2013-10-21T17:00:00Z 2013-10-22T00:41:05Z Gavit's Amber Earl makes the meaning of teamHillary Smith hillary.smith@nwi.com, (219) 933-3233 nwitimes.com

When Amber Earl was a freshman, her Gavit girls volleyball team needed a hitter. She had played middle hitter, at some point, in middle school, but her answer was: "Whatever you need, Coach."

When she was a sophomore, the Gladiators needed another setter to run their 6-2 offense, so though she liked being a hitter, her answer was: "Whatever you need, Coach."

Now that Gavit has changed to a 5-1 offense, and Earl is the only setter, her hitting numbers have definitely diminished.

"It's more of a matter of what my team needs," Earl said. "I'll do what I can to help us win. If we don't have someone there, I'll try my best to be that person."

The Gladiators enter the Class 3A Clark Sectional in an interesting predicament. It has been three seasons since Gavit last won a sectional title, and Griffith, the Glads' first-round opponent, is the defending champion.

In a regularly scheduled game, Griffith beat Gavit. In a tournament later this season, Gavit beat Griffith.

The stage is set for an upset one way or another.

For the Gladiators to earn their fourth sectional title since the start of the class era, the team will need players like Earl, and not just because she's the setter.

"I think a lot of her success has to do with attitude, she's always positive," coach Amy Osorio said. "During the 5-1, it can get very frustrating. She'll listen to every critique and she's always looking for who's on. She never gives anyone any attitude, she's always so positive."

Once she was designated as a setter, Earl continued to work on her setting skills in order to improve her team.

"Her setting touch has improved since last year, hands down that's been what's really consistent for us," Osorio said. "She's doing it all for me, and there are not too many setters who are willing to play middle and block the net. It's nice to have that sacrifice, because she can be one of our better hitters. But, obviously, she doesn't get the ball very often."

Despite Earl's desire to make a big block or key kill, she's all about the Glads.

"During the 6-2, I got to hit a lot more, and this year I'm setting all the way around, all the time," Earl said. "I like doing it, it's a lot of work, but it's something my team needed, so I'll do it full time."

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