The Pioneer volleyball team is a work in progress under first-year coach Fabiana Martins and the Pioneers have been making plenty of progress along the way. The Pioneers play with a passion for the game and determination to get better which has been a winning combination.
One of the players stepping up her game and stepping up into the spotlight is Delanie “Lanie” DeSano-Smith. The junior has not only become a force at the net but her enthusiasm for the sport, her teammates and winning have netted a lot of positive results for the Pioneers.
“After one of our matches last month one of the officials stopped me after one of the games just to talk about Lanie,” Martins said. “He said that she was an extraordinary player. I certainly agree with him.”
Martins says DeSano-Smith is a “great setter.”
“I like to think of her as a brute diamond and once lapidated we all be able to enjoy her preciousness,” Martins says. In other words, once she combines her incredible athletic ability with a more polished game, she is going to become an elite player.
The 15-year-old started playing volleyball at an early age.
“I’ve played indoor volleyball since I was 8 and sand volleyball since I was 11,” says Lanie, the daughter of Danielle and James Smith.
It quickly become a serious part of her life.
“I now play AAU sand volleyball for Premier Volleyball Club in the summer and indoor volleyball every fall school season in addition to AAU club January through July,” she said.
She doesn’t play any other sport, giving volleyball her full attention.
DeSano-Smith is the youngest of three girls by a six and four year difference. They helped show her the way – on and off the court.
“My older sisters always played volleyball and I always looked up to them so much,” she said. “I started watching them play and seeing the game when I was around 5. I quickly gained a fascination for the game.”
Last month at the Railsplitter Invitational, De-Sano Smith was awarded an All-Star medal after a dominating performance.
And there will be more of those to come in the future.