FAIRMONT — It can be quite tough for other teams to game plan for Fairmont State volleyball middle hitter Rebecca Feeney.
The problem is just how many facets of the game the redshirt junior from Douglassville, Pennsylvania, can impact at once. At 6-foot-3, Feeney has the type of height that leaves opponents struggling to get the ball around her, and she leads Fairmont in blocks with 72 total through 16 games.
“You’ll see players absolutely change their swing because they see she’s up there. She has a lot of pride in her blocking, and she takes her numbers very seriously,” said Fairmont State head coach Courtney Materazzi. “It absolutely influences opponents, and she takes shutting them down personally.”
“It’s kind of about taking it very personal, just wanting to get a touch on all the blocks and trying to outblock the other team,” Feeney said.
But Feeney is much more than just height at the net. She is also quite prolific both on the serve and the attack, leading the team in kills (172) and sitting at second in service aces (15).
“Her transition and range have seen big improvements, and teams have to honor her. She’s very intimidating to opponents, she draws a lot of attention, and she has big numbers,” Materazzi said.
“She’s going to challenge you both defensively and offensively; she impacts other teams because she’s a lot to worry about. A scouting report on her is pretty detailed, which is great.”
Feeney’s impact on the game alone is a large boost for the team, but the opportunities she creates for her fellow players is the icing on top of the proverbial cake. As a middle hitter leading the team in kills, she demands extra attention that others in her position might not see. This allows some of her teammates to take advantage of openings in opposing defenses.
“She is really great, and other teams’ blockers have to honor her. Having her go up and be an option, they’re biting on her, leaving me against one blocker and giving me the option to score,” said Fairmont State outside hitter Julia Dipaola, who sits second on the team in individual kills with 165 total. “It’s really nice not having all the load rely on one person.”
“We have a lot of depth on this team,” Feeney said. “We have such a variety of runs each hitter can do and a variety of placements that other teams, with our crossing patterns, they don’t know what’s coming. So then it opens up different hitters and and anyone can have such a good game. We open up so many different options.”