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The GH Falcon

The GH Falcon

The GH Falcon

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As the 2023-24 school year wraps up, juniors prepare for college applications. Photo used with permission from Philippe Bout on Unsplash
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Justin Jackson, Staff Writer • April 11, 2024
Played in the Hornets home arena, Charlotte played host to first and second-round matchups including UNC vs. Michigan State.
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Mason Dean and Mason ClineApril 11, 2024
Brinley Zalc (’24) is #5 on the womens soccer team and defends against an opponent from Athens Drive. Photo used with permission from Brinley Zalc.
Spring sports: Start of season recap
Armaan Minhas, Staff Writer • March 22, 2024
Follow this link to purchase tickets for Green Hope Athletic events
Played in the Hornets home arena, Charlotte played host to first and second-round matchups including UNC vs. Michigan State.
March Madness recap
Mason Dean and Mason ClineApril 11, 2024
Brinley Zalc (’24) is #5 on the womens soccer team and defends against an opponent from Athens Drive. Photo used with permission from Brinley Zalc.
Spring sports: Start of season recap
Armaan Minhas, Staff Writer • March 22, 2024
Follow this link to purchase tickets for Green Hope Athletic events

Underclassmen on top: Volleyball

Evie+Carlson+%28%2312%29+watches+as+Taylor+Bruce+%28%237%29+jumps+up+to+hit+the+ball+for+a+kill+during+a+game.+Photo+used+with+permission+from+Taylor+Bruce.
Evie Carlson (#12) watches as Taylor Bruce (#7) jumps up to hit the ball for a kill during a game. Photo used with permission from Taylor Bruce.

Whether it’s an ace, a dump, a block or a kill, the team circles up to encourage each other while parents and students roar in excitement. A volleyball environment, especially in Wake County, can be one of the most thrilling yet tense athletic atmospheres. Sophomore athletes Taylor Bruce (‘26) and Evelyn (Evie) Carlson (‘26) have thrived under this pressure, rising both over the expectations and over the net, as critical players for the Green Hope Volleyball team this season. 

Both Bruce and Carlson sat down with the GH Falcon and answered some questions about their respective volleyball journeys, and the realities of varsity volleyball for underclassmen.

What prompted an interest in volleyball?

These two athletes had very different beginnings to the sport. Carlson said, “I started playing when I was 7, my two older sisters who were playing got me into it.” From an early age, she thrived on the court, growing up within the club volleyball system. Bruce, on the other hand, got recruited “by a volleyball coach at a track meet.” She continued, “I started playing recreational volleyball when I was in fifth grade… the first time I played I was so bad I wanted to quit, but after a few seasons of playing rec I started getting really good and loving it.” 

Bruce typically plays as a right side, but often rotates to both sides of the net for kills. Photo used with permission from Taylor Bruce.

What was volleyball like before GH?

Carlson surprisingly has never played for any middle school team, staying invested in club volleyball. She revealed, “Club was super fun. It was really competitive, there’s always good players around and it drove me to get better.” Bruce did also join a club volleyball team the same year she “started taking volleyball seriously by joining the middle school team in seventh grade.” Both of these athletes were ready for the transition to Green Hope athletics.

What were some expectations when entering high school in terms of athletics?

Bruce and Carlson were expecting big things out of high school volleyball. Bruce recalled, “I remember being scared because I didn’t think I was going to make the team at all. I just knew it was going to be super competitive.” Carlson expanded on this, “I knew we were going to have to try our best and we always had to lift each other up and be supportive of each other.” Her older sister Sophie Carlson had clued her in on GH’s volleyball values, as a player who graduated just last year.

How was it being on JV?

Both players spent their freshmen year on JV, but were quick to move up to varsity. “I was on JV but then I moved up to varsity before the season ended,” Bruce says. Carlson was also ready to move on, “JV was okay, I have definitely had some better experiences but it was good for me to learn and improve.” Both athletes also stressed the major difference between the two levels as a “crazy shift”. Throughout her transition, Carlson felt “the competition was way better and playing against seniors that are going Division 1 is nothing like JV.”

What’s the best part about being on varsity as an underclassmen?

“Definitely all the role models, all the upperclassmen… Belle, Brielle, Sydney and many others all help me get better and want me to be better,” said Carlson. Bruce felt similarly about her teammates, revealing, “We have such a big support system and everyone on the team is so nice.” While the shift in competition was tough for these athletes, the shift of having older teammates was super easy, providing both underclassmen with friends on and off the court.

Carlson jumps far off the ground for one of her 178 kills this season. Photo used with permission from Evie Carlson.

What adversity is commonly faced as an underclassmen on varsity?

For both the players, adversity has solely come on the court. Bruce feels “the toughest part is adapting to competition against people that are older, stronger and more experienced, especially since a lot of good players have multiple years of varsity experience.” Carlson’s struggles differed slightly, primarily being “playing time as an underclassmen.” She expanded, “I always want to be better but there’s people that are upperclassmen that have been playing for much longer than I have, so they get more playing time.” Even with these adversities for Taylor and Evie, they have been able to play critical roles for the team.

What should be anticipated for the next few years in Green Hope volleyball?

Both players had one key message for Green Hope’s fans: “Expect a state championship.” Taylor felt confident the team would be within reach for the next couple years and Evie confirmed, “[We will be] getting the state championship this year, and working hard to win it again in the next two years.”

Evie Carlson and Taylor Bruce both dominate near the net with over 150 kills each, as 2nd and 3rd in kills for the team respectively, only trailing Belle Patrick (’24). This high level of performance would be impressive for any volleyball players, let alone underclassmen, especially considering Green Hope Volleyball is currently a Top 5 team in the state, and is on their way to yet another program state championship.

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About the Contributor
Justin Jackson, Staff Writer
Justin is a senior at Green Hope, and this is his first year as a Staff Writer. Being in the Math Honors Society, he enjoys tutoring other students struggling with the subject and with SAT prep. Justin hopes to continue his studies outside of high school, wanting to get an MBA in Business with a concentration in Finance. Additionally, Justin is a big part of the Green Hope community as he is a part of many organizations like Student Council, Falcon Frenzy, and on the board of Green Hope's DECA chapter. On top of that, he's also a player on the Men's Soccer and Basketball team at school. If you ever want to grab a bite, you can often find Justin working at a popular Italian restaurant, Lugano's, over the weekend. He is passionate about helping others as well as being true to his interests. Besides school and work, Justin enjoys spending his time listening to music, lifting weights, and hanging out with friends.
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