Palo Alto High School's sports news magazine

Viking Magazine

Palo Alto High School's sports news magazine

Viking Magazine

Palo Alto High School's sports news magazine

Viking Magazine

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Megan Coleman

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman built a career off of rebounds. He helped five teams win NBA championships and had the capability of turning the course of a game around without ever taking a shot. Just as Rodman was the backbone for his basketball teams, Megan Coleman (’11) is the defensive strength for hers.

As the senior co-captain and starting libero on the Palo Alto High School varsity volleyball team, Coleman stops the ball from hitting the gym floor and keeping the play alive outside of the limelight in the back row.

“She will never let the ball drop,” teammate and outside hitter Trina Ohms (’11) said. “The way she carries herself on the court it’s not like she is always going for the spotlight, she will just do whatever it takes to win.”

Megan Coleman ('11) serves the ball in a match against Los Altos on Nov. 4.

Coleman started playing volleyball in fourth grade because her sister, Allie Coleman (’09), began playing on the Jordan sixth grade team. Volleyball, however, was nothing new for the Coleman girls. Their parents both played volleyball and introduced the sport to the sisters when they were young.

“There was no pressure,” Coleman’s father Kevin said. “I think Megan watched [her mom and I] play a little bit and really liked it. She had the opportunity to play with us to build fundamentals when she was young.”

Ohms remembers growing up playing volleyball with the Coleman family.

“Growing up, that was the thing to do, dig with Kevin Coleman or go hit some sets with Allie,” Ohms said. “[Volleyball] was an every day part of our routine.”

Although Megan plays a different position than her sister, Allie has always had a significant influence on her. Megan has always looked up to her and tried to follow in her footsteps. The sisters played on the same team at Paly in the 2008-09 season during Allie’s senior year and Megan’s sophomore year.

“I felt like a lot of people expected a lot from me because of [Allie], but once we were on the team together she made the pressure go away because she helped me calm down and get better,” Megan said.

Coleman proved that playing as the center of attention was not the key to her success as she grew into her role as libero and backbone of the team.

As libero, Coleman is responsible for leading the defensive side of the game. Coleman sets the ball and creates passes for her teammates behind the attack line. By keeping the ball from hitting the ground and feeding the offense, she gives the other five players on the court the ability to focus on the offense.

“Her job is really important because without the steady person serving or digging we coudn’t use all of our offensive tools,” coach Dave Winn said.

The glory of volleyball is very much focused on the offense. The Lady Vikes have found a lot of success in their offense, but they would not be able to succeed without the efforts of Coleman. Setter Kimmy Whitson (’12) voiced that Coleman does not need the glory of getting kills on offense for motivation. Her importance on the team is never questioned as she is necessary to jump-start the team’s offense.

“She isn’t the one to get the most kills, she is the one who digs and produces for the big hitters,” Ohms said. “She is the one who pushes our team forward without needing the spot light to do that.”

Coleman sets herself apart from other teams’ liberos through her intelligent play and anticipation on the court.

“She is really smart in reading the hitters on the other side of the court,” Whitson said. “She is good at getting in the right position and reading where the block is, where the players are moving the ball.”

Most liberos are quick and find success in diving across the court in attempt to hit the ball. Coleman, however, is capable of diving for a dig, but often times she does not have to.

“A lot of times I have heard college coaches say, ‘why doesnt she dive?,” and I say, ‘well, how many times does she miss a ball?'” Winn said. “She is always in the right position so she doesn’t have to run around and dive, but she is willing to.”

Coleman finds satisfaction holding the team up without the credit of the kills, and has fun going for digs.
“Volleyball means a lot [to me],” Coleman said. “I really enjoy playing it, I’m happy when I play it, and I play it all the time so it kind of defines me.”

Both teammates and Winn call Coleman the glue of the defense. Coleman’s role as stabilizer is not restricted to her role as the leading defender, but also the anchor of the team’s emotions. She maintains the composure of the team regardless of whether the team is winning or losing.

“There is a lot that is going on in her mind, but on the top she’s cool,” Winn said. “That’s what helps our team when we get a little frazzled, we can look at Megan and think, ‘Hey everything is good.'”

Her quiet, cool manner worked to her advantage in her role as the team co-captain with Ohms. Coleman’s soft spoken personality helps her teammate’s feel comfortable approaching her about things, and helps her team keep their cool on the court.

“Megan has really good relations with everyone on the team,” Kevin Coleman said. “She is not part of one clique or pact, I think a lot of kids especially the younger kids will come to her and talk to her about things and she really pulls the team together.”

Ohms feels Coleman is very easy to talk to, and that anyone on the team could approach her about anything.

“You won’t have a doubt that she [will] give everything she’s got,” Ohms said. “She will give her best serve, she will fight for every dig, she will always put out as much effort as possible and that’s why she shines as a leader.”

Ohms and Whitson both feel that Coleman is a natural leader. Her manner on and off the court colossally helps the team.

“[Megan is] calm, cool, and collected,” Winn said. She knows where she’s at, she knows what needs to get done and whenever the pressure is on she just kind of stays the same.”

Dennis Rodman once said, “I want to do for rebounds what Michael Jordan did for dunks.” Forget kills. In the game of volleyball, which focuses on the glory of offensive feats, Coleman certainly does that for digs.

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