The McKinney Boyd volleyball team is off to a blazing start (27-5) and has become one of the most feared teams in Class 6A. A big reason for their early season success is their starting senior middle blocker, Paige Anderson, who is already top three on the school’s all-time career blocks list.
Just last week, Anderson added the Lone Star Circle of Champions Tournament MVP award to her growing trophy case, to compliment her all-tournament team award from the Allen Texas Open earlier this season.
In her third year on varsity, Anderson has morphed into one of the best volleyball players in the Metroplex which has caused her to be in the spotlight more than ever in her senior season. Although she likes the bright lights, Anderson prioritizes winning over individual success and is focused on leading the Lady Broncos to the state tournament at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland in November.
“I’ve come out every game this season thinking we are going to work as a team – with the mindset of not just winning but coming together and playing together,” Anderson said. “I don’t worry about stats because I believe they will take care of themselves, and my main focus is getting the win no matter what.”
So far throughout her young career, Anderson has made a good habit of winning. This summer, Anderson teamed up with Hebron star setter Kylee McLaughlin to help lead the Texas Advantage Volleyball 17 Black club squad to a national championship. Despite playing for a rival school, McLaughlin has nothing but admiration and respect for her friend and friendly rival.
“[Paige] is very good – I did club with her, and it was a very hard year but she actually was one of the hardest workers on the team,” McLaughlin said. “She just worked hard every day while putting in solid work and is a very good player.”
Through Anderson’s two-and-a-half seasons on the Boyd varsity roster, the Lady Broncos have compiled a gaudy 72-25 record while making two trips to the playoffs. After getting within one game of qualifying for the state tournament last season, the reigning 6-6A first team all-district member has taken a narrow approach to her senior season.
“My three goals this season are very simple,” Anderson said. “I want us to get further than we did last year, I want to have a chance of winning a state title and I want my team to develop the best chemistry a team can have.”
The talented senior was chosen by her teammates to be a team captain this season and faces the difficult task of leading a fairly young team to another deep playoff run, which has become the standard at Boyd. For veteran Boyd head coach Kelly Arbabi, having Anderson on the court is like having another coach on the floor due to her constantly improving leadership skills.
“I’m proud of where she is (in her development), but I know she can continue to improve,” Arbabi said. “She’s growing as a leader, she’s one of our captains this year and she can continue to grow and stay composed on the court and continue to bring that feistiness to the rest of the girls.
“Paige is feisty and everyone knows that, so Paige has to do a good job of monitoring her level of energy because when she’s hot, she’s hot, and when she gets frustrated, she gets frustrated. Making sure she’s leading the other girls and being that senior captain and fighting to the very end is what I expect out of her.”
At 6-foot-2, Anderson possess the perfect height and athleticism to complement her high volleyball IQ which has allowed her to consistently take over games when her Lady Broncos need her most. Despite only playing volleyball since she was 13 years old, Anderson was recruited by Florida, Georgia, Texas A&M and Oklahoma before deciding to commit to the Sooners during February of her sophomore year.
With her college future secure, Anderson’s family can fully enjoy the results she has produced in her journey to become a great volleyball player.
“It’s really exciting – we’ve been working hard for years, and she’s super excited to finish the year strong and get prepared for next year and college stuff,” said Melissa Nicholson, Anderson’s mother. “She started late; she was a late bloomer – we kind of knew we needed to be patient and take steps slowly, and she’s grown to be a really strong player.”
With Boyd ranked third in the state polls and district play beginning this week, all of Anderson’s goals and dreams still have a realistic chance of becoming a reality.
For continued coverage of the local sports scene, follow Kendrick E. Johnson onTwitter @kendrickjohnso