EDITOR’S NOTE: The Atlanta A5 Volleyball Club features more than 300 athletes, including several which are part of national qualifying teams. The following is Part 1 in a series of features about the A5 players who also compete in DeKalb County during the school season.
The role sounds simple, and Kathryn Maloof makes it look simple.
Maloof, a St. Pius X sophomore, is the starting middle blocker for the 15-Earl team in the Atlanta A5 Volleyball Club.
Earl Kneessi, Maloof’s head coach, said she knows how to accomplish her role well.
“She does a great number of things for the team,” Kneessi said. “She has been starting at the middle blocker position for pretty much the entire year. She brings a great skill set to the court.”
Kneessi coached Maloof last season at A5. He said the difference from last season to this season is tremendous.
“It has been great to see her grow from one year to the next,” Kneessi said. “She has gotten more experience and it is really evident how much better she has gotten in the skills she brings to the team.”
Maloof said she has enjoyed what Kneessi has done for her and her teammates.
“The coaches really push us here and it is great,” she said. “They always make us feel great when we exceed their expectations.”
Kneessi said Maloof is an asset on offense with kills and defense with blocks.
“She is strong at the net and she does the powerful things that are needed on a volleyball squad,” Kneessi said.
Kneessi said Maloof may not be as strong when she has to rotate to the back row, but she does not let her team down at all.
“She may not be as strong on the back row, but she contributes to a level where I don’t have to take her off the floor when she hits the back row,” Kneessi said.
Kneessi has gotten to know Maloof in the two seasons working with her.
“She is a very intense person,” Kneessi said. “But she is also very introspective. She thinks a lot about what is going on with the game and what she needs to take the next step.”
Kneessi said celebration is not a problem with Maloof.
“She knows when to celebrate and how to do it well,” Kneessi said. “And that celebration bleeds out into the team and brings them along for the ride with her.”