Editor’s note: This is a regular feature profiling senior athletes at Bryant High School.
NAME: Kayla Davidson
DATE OF BIRTH: April 15, 1992
PARENTS: Tammy and Wayne Davidson
SIBLINGS: I have one little sister. She’s actually a freshman this year, Courtney Davidson.
FAVORITE SUBJECT IN SCHOOL: I would really count Yearbook as a subject, so the closest to that would probably be English.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO IN YOUR SPARE TIME? Honestly, I don’t have a lot of spare time because I have senior officer duties, Yearbook duties, volleyball, track. In my spare time, I’d probably say I like to go home and just lay there.
FAVORITE FOOD: Probably my grandma’s biscuits because they’re not really individual biscuits. It’s just one big old biscuit that you just kind of take a chunk off of.
FAVORITE MUSIC ARTIST OR GROUP: Probably Sugarland because Jennifer Nettles does something with her voice that I’ve never heard before.[more]
FAVORITE MOVIE: Probably Facing the Giants just because it was done by a local church group on a very minimal budget but it really sent out a very powerful message, better than other Christian movies do, I think. Even though the acting was really cheesy because it was done by members of the church, it still hit home with people. I think it really related, especially to a volleyball team. We use the famous line for there, “Build a strong wall.” It tells you not to back down and not to let anything get in your way, even like teammates or if someone’s bringing down outside of school, or someone in the stands or if the coach and things aren’t going your way that day. It just tells you to build that stone wall and not let anything interfere with how you play.
FAVORITE TV SHOW: Gilmore Girls, just because of the bond between the mom and the daughter. It’s like a different unity that you don’t really see between parents and kids. It’s a good show and it’s been on for awhile. They discontinued it last year but I still watch all the reruns.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE TOY AS A KID? I started softball when I was 3 so my toy was anything athletic.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AFTER HIGH SCHOOL? Right now, I’m just kind of juggling colleges, trying to figure if I want to play volleyball. I mean I’ve decided not to take it to a D-I school, maybe like a D-II or D-III, maybe Lyons or Hendrix. And try to get a scholarship off of that. But, if do end up going to like ASU or someplace, probably not focusing on volleyball there, just because I really want to have a good academic center in college and not really bolt myself down to one thing. Ever since 10th grade, I joined the Yearbook staff and I’m editor this year. So, I really think, graphic design, going into ad design or something like that would be really cool. Or, if I go to like Lyons, I really think I want to go pre-Law. Kind of opposite ends of the spectrum, whichever works out.
OTHER THAN YOUR PARENTS, WHO HAS HAD THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE ON YOUR LIFE? She probably doesn’t know it but it was my 10th grade English teacher, Mrs. (Paula) Barker. I’ve never learned so much in a class in so little time. She taught me probably everything I know about writing right now, other than my Yearbook teacher. She’s really just a kind soul but she still gets her point across. She’s very respectful. She’s definitely inspired me to do a lot.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT VOLLEYBALL? I like just playing in the games. Like in the North Little Rock game, it was so intense. There was not a quiet moment in this gym. I love games like that where it’s so intense. It’s not down to the wire but you’re still fighting tooth and nail. So it’s really like you’re digging for that last point when you may have four points left to go but you’re still playing like it’s your last ball. I love the feeling of getting out there on the court and saying, ‘Hey, I’m never going to touch a volleyball again. It’s time to bring it.’ Just going out there and hitting it hard.
POSITION: Right now, I play middle blocker. In past years, I’ve been switched around from outside hitter to right side.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL LIKE IS YOUR PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY ON THE COURT? My responsibilities have changes a lot this year. I definitely stepped it up as a leader, not only on the court but off the court. I’ve really taken it on myself. It’s really proving to myself that I am worthy of it, that I am worthy to be a leader. So my responsibility is pretty much proving myself to myself. I’ve recently been named captain, which was really cool, really a big thing because I set that goal ever since this summer. And I think, right now, I’m just continuing to prove it to myself, saying, “Hey, you earned it, now show that you deserve it.” I think that’s my big thing right now.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE SEASON SO FAR? Definitely the high point this year was beating North Little Rock. Not only because it was just a good game. We lost our first two games and somehow we came back and we won the last three, ended up taking a win for that match. And I think it was so intense because I never shut up. I think in the BryantDaily.com, it said something about me being a cheerleader on and off the court. That just hit and it was like, oh my gosh, that is so awesome. Just the season overall, considering our previous history, I really think that we’ve shown that Bryant’s a competitor this year. We’re not laying down. We’re not one of those teams that you can just roll over. We’re not going 0-7 this year, not 0-14. We’re a competitor this year and I think that’s good. We’ve had a lot of sophomores step up, come in and play varsity like I’ve never seen before. Our Libero, Lauren Reed, definitely stepped it up, came up as a sophomore. I mean, you have seniors hitting the ball at you, one right after the other, and she’s just digging them up, firing them off. I’m like “Dang.” I see so much of what I wanted to be in the 10th grade. It’s an amazing feeling knowing that I won’t leave here a senior saying, “Dang, I wish our volleyball program had gotten better.” And I definitely feel like we owe some of that to the coaching. Coach (Doug) Maxwell was an amazing person and an amazing man and even though some of us don’t think he had the coaching skills, I think he did his job but I think it was time for someone else to step up and take it. I think Coach (Beth) Solomon has done an awesome job. She’s definitely taken the reins and given us a chew out when we need it and she’s definitely sincere about the stuff. She wants us to get better. And Coach (Julie) Long coming from Nettleton was just like a save. She’s definitely pushed us to believe in ourselves. And she hasn’t seen us in the past. She sees us now and she’s like, “I don’t know why you don’t believe in yourself. Why don’t you think you can do it?” I think that really inspires us to see that if someone else really does see it then why can’t we see it. So, I definitely think it’s got something to do with the coaching too.
WHAT'S IT GOING TO TAKE FOR THE TEAM TO BE SUCCESSFUL THE REST OF THE SEASON? Right now, it’s just going to take everyone being focused and realizing that we have six games left and six wins is what we want. I really want to beat Conway. Conway, they’ve lost none. They are undefeated. They’re a really good team. Their middle blocker is unbelievable. But I really want to take a win from them. I want to be like “Hey, I came out, showed what I’ve got and beat Conway.” Even one or two games from them, but I really want to take a match from them. And it’s just going to take everyone coming out and being, “Hey, I know my job, I know my position and I’m going to work at it.” But also realizing that, “Hey, I’m not the only one on this court.” So, just taking control of what you can control, individually, and molding that to work well with what our team does.
INDIVIDUALLY, WHAT ABOUT YOUR GAME ARE YOU MOST CONFIDENT ABOUT? I definitely feel most confident about my hitting. My hitting has improved so much ever since last summer. I went to a camp at UALR, the Van Compton Camp, and that was the first time I actually learned how to hit. It was really basic one, two, three, four steps but it really taught me how to snap, how to hit, how to get everything right in line. Now, I’m starting to where I can run special sets. I can run ones, sixes, slides, crosses. I mean I’ve really improved a lot on my hitting. I really feel confident in that. My blocking, not so much. I’ve been doing this thing, I have this habit that really needs to be fixed but I am working on it and I improved myself to keep my position long enough to this point that I think I can keep doing it and keep improving myself.
WHAT DO YOU WORK HARDEST TO IMPROVE? Blocking and passing. I don’t play all the way around. I don’t play back row because Lauren, our Libero, comes in. Like I said, she’s awesome but I really do work harder on my passing. And I just work on my overall game because the coaches keep telling me, “Hey, people feed off your energy, people feed off how you play.” And I thing that’s the best way to be a leader. How you play is how other people are going to play. It’s not really what you say, it’s what you do, as the saying goes. And it really is. I don’t think people get that. I think, in sports, if people see it happen then people want to do it. People see that last-minute point hit the ground and people are like, “I want that feeling.” It just makes the team come together so much more.
AFTER YOU'RE THROUGH PLAYING VOLLEYBALL AT BHS, WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'LL REMEMBER MOST FONDLY ABOUT IT? You’re never going to forget these girls. They are definitely an unforgettable bunch. You’ve got people from all different cliques, if you want to call it that, like from all over the school. You’ve got people who are the creative bunch like Sydney (Manley). She tie-dyes everything. Then you’ve got me, Brianna (Hays) and Kasey (Baker). We’ve been friends since we were like 10. We played softball together forever. Then you’ve got Jordan (Armstrong) and Heather (Light) that came from their little clique. It’s a bunch of girls that have come from all over the school and we all meet up in the gym and we’re a team. You’re never going to forget that.