TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The St. John Paul II volleyball team made it to the state title game last year in Class 2A. They returned nearly everyone off that roster, including senior Caitlin O'Connor, who's working hard to make sure this year, the season ends with a win.
"Caitlin gets out there and every time she's out there on the court, I know she wants to win," said head coach Emily Serpico. "You just see the fire in her eyes, and it's been cool to see that growth."
For the St. John Paul the II volleyball team, O'Connor is the Panthers spark plug.
"She can run our offense, she can get anyone in play, and she can fire up our players," said Serpico. "You need that on a team."
O'Connor looks to take that energy to lead this team to another appearance in the state finals, and this time, bring it home.
"I just try to keep everyone motivated," she said. "I try to make sure I'm loud on the court and off the court. I make sure I'm a leader off the court too, so if they do need help, I'll reach out a hand no matter what."
"We need a setter who can get their hitters excited to sit and not worried about getting the glory for themselves," added Serpico.
It's a humble attitude that carries over from the court to the classroom, as O'Connor has a 4.4 GPA.
"It is crazy to know I've kept it up with all these grades, playing a varsity sport all four years," she said. "I'm very proud of myself for doing that."
"She's top of the class and always has been," said Serpico. "She just is always working hard, always making it happen, and an awesome person all around."
Hard work that O'Connor's hoping turns into history.
"It's very exciting to know that I am one of the leaders on the court and to see if I can truly lead to the state finals and truly make history at this school."
One set, at a time. O'Connor said she doesn't plan on playing volleyball in college, and is thinking about majoring in forensics or going the pre-med route wherever she decides to go.