Northampton Press

Monday, January 20, 2020
photo by Steve AndresSydney Heffner has been a key player for the Kids this season. photo by Steve AndresSydney Heffner has been a key player for the Kids this season.

Heffner helping to lead volleyball team

Thursday, October 10, 2019 by Steve andres Special to the Press in Sports

The Northampton girls volleyball team drew another step closer to a district playoff berth with their win against East Stroudsburg North a couple of weeks ago and senior setter Sydney Heffner was in the thick of all the action.

The Kids would eventually go on to clinch that berth and now look forward to the start of the playoffs.

Heffner, a senior never left the court in the match against ESN, and set up the winning point in the final two sets of a 3-0 sweep over the visiting Timberwolves.

Heffner had an excellent all-around game that day with 29 assists, six digs, five kills, and an ace, all part of a great season for her and the Kids. Her ability to put the ball in a good hitting zone for their frontcourt players, helped them all season.

Heffner is one player who’s adept at working around whatever obstacles get in her or her teammates way this season. While her role as a setter is to put her teammates in position to crack some wrist rockets, Heffner incorporates a nifty tip shot to take advantage of the blocker’s anticipation of a pass.

Heffner sells it well, looking directly at her target before pushing or tipping it to an open spot on the opposite side of the net.

“I just go kind of go up and make it seem like I’m setting it to the hitter, and I’ll see an opening on the other side of the court, and just put it down,” said Heffner.

Heffner can hit that shot shallow or deep, often times tucking one tip just inside the backline just like she did against Eastburg North.

One big obstacle against ESN was Christina Montanez. Like when facing key players all season, Heffner said that she had to know where Montanez was throughout that game.

“I can see out of the corner of my eye whether she’s going up or not, and if she is, I’ll just push it deep to the corner,” said Heffner.

Heffner said she’ll make a determination on whether to tip or pass depending how the opposition is setting up their defense.

“If it’s big blockers against our hitters, because a lot of teams have a height advantage over us, so it honestly depends who’s on the other side,” said Heffner.

She said that the decision to jump set or stay on the ground to cause some deception is predicated upon those factors.

Heffner set up Alexa Barowski for the final point in sets two and three, part of her 10 kills to lead the team.

Head coach Jess Finlayson said that they have to guard against letting down when facing teams that quite aren’t at their level as the season winds down.

“I want them to continue playing high,” she said.

Finlayson said that the ESN game yielded some positive developments, noting that they served well and played together as a team.

Heffner said that they’re continuing to push in an effort to make runs in both the league and district playoffs. She said it’s their goal, something the senior would also like to accomplish as a member of the first Northampton girls volleyball team to qualify for the district playoffs.

“It’s going to take teamwork,” said Heffner. “We just have to keep our energy up and stay positive.”