Adriana Barrera followed in the footsteps of her older sister.
Barrera first began playing volleyball when she was 8-years-old. The Lady Bulldog outside hitter’s older sibling became Involved in the sport while in middle school.
“I saw her playing, so I was like I want to play too,” said Barrera, a junior who’s DeSoto County’s team captain.
Her older sister, Kirsten Barrera, played two years in middle school, and four years for the Lady Bulldogs.
“I’ve always looked up to her,” said Adriana. “She encouraged me to keep playing volleyball.”
The diminutive dynamo may only be five-foot four-inches tall, but makes up for her lack of height with her speed, getting to balls that many of the taller players aren’t able to get to.
“I do work a lot on my legs and core, so I can jump a lot higher,” said Barrera, who also plays for a travel team in Fort Myers. “Since we are a short team, I have to Play outside. So I do a lot of deadlifts and leg workouts.We do weightlifting over the summer.”
Barrera plays two positions for DeSoto County, setter when she’s in the back row, and when she’s in the front row, she’s an outside hitter.
Each role has its responsibilities, as a setter knowing where each player wants to hit and where their place is. The setter is also in control of the plays, and must be vigilant in their approach when looking at the opposition on the other side of the net, positioning players to get the best results, said Barrera.
And because of her diminutive stature, Barrera often has to play larger than her size when on the front row.
Eye coordination also plays a key role, said Barrera.
“It lets me look at the blockers, it also lets me see where the passers are, so I can adjust my arm swing to a hole,” said Barrera.
Greater gravitas has fallen on Barrera’s shoulders, and as the captain, she helps her teammates remain positive and focused during play.
“Once you walk into this gym, it’s all of us together as a team,” said Barrera. “We encourage each other to play better.”
Communication is a critical component, said Barrera.
“If you’re out there, and no one knows what they’re doing, you’re losing the game,” said Barrera. “When we get down, I like to say, ‘Hey Ladies, keep up the energy. Let’s push through this.’’