Freshman in school, senior on the court

Freshman Georgia Watson talks about her experience being the only freshman on the varsity volleyball team

Watson+tips+for+a+point.

Courtesy of G. Watson

Watson tips for a point.

Ally Panzloff

Many high school athletes dream of playing for their school’s varsity team by their senior, or even junior year. For a select few, they achieve that goal their freshman year. Freshman volleyball player Georgia Watson understands this feeling, as she was the only freshman on Huntley’s varsity team last fall. 

Watson has been involved in sports for most of her life. Having always been tall, she played basketball young, and then tried volleyball at local clubs starting when she was 8. She has since committed to club volleyball year-round at Mission Volleyball, located in Marengo. 

Watson’s first experience with Huntley volleyball was at the preseason camp last July. 

“I knew I wanted to make a higher team than freshman, so I just went and worked hard. I feel like for a lot of people that’s the goal,” Watson said.

After a two-week-long camp, Watson was one of two freshmen who earned the opportunity to try out for the JV/Varsity team. 

“I was so nervous, but people were very reassuring even though I wasn’t very close with any of the girls yet,” Watson said. 

It is easy to call Watson’s inaugural season a success. She played in over half of the varsity matches to help her team to a 26-12 record and a Sectional championship. By the end of the season, many of her teammates considered her a crucial part of the team. 

“Georgia brought a lot of energy and volume to the court. She brings so much to the team, and I loved seeing it throughout the season,” junior Avary DeBlieck said.

Watson says her favorite memory of the season was winning the regional championship against McHenry High School. But outside of winning, Watson enjoyed other aspects of the team, such as the bonds she made. Although being the youngest could have been intimidating, she found it easy to connect with her teammates. 

“I loved having Georgia on the team. It was kind of intimidating meeting this freshman who towered over me at first, but she’s super nice and funny,” sophomore Laura Boberg said. 

One thing that helped Watson be successful was her love for a challenge. The pace of the game was significantly faster than her 14s club season, but that did not affect her play. 

“[Varsity] is a whole different atmosphere. I loved playing against older, competitive players because I know it’ll make me better,” Watson said.

If Watson could give one piece of advice to younger players looking to make a varsity sport their freshman year, she says that confidence is key, and being friendly with older players can be helpful on and off the court.