Oct. 24—WESTBROOK — The Westbrook-Walnut Grove volleyball team is having its best season in nearly a decade.
One of the biggest and most electrifying reasons for that is their outside hitter, Natalie Wahl.
Wahl is a junior on the Chargers volleyball squad whose wicked swing and spunky play on the court is leading to wins.
She is continuing to improve both her leadership and game on the court, not bad considering she was an all-Red Rock Conference player last season as a sophomore and was an honorable mention on The Globe's all-area team.
"I have definitely become a better leader because I've grown relationships with the girls, especially the younger girls," Wahl said. "And helping them become better players and better teammates is definitely something that I have done."
It shows just how much Wahl enjoys the game she's been playing since the fifth grade and showcases one of the reasons why she loves the game: hitting.
"My favorite part about volleyball is probably hitting the ball. I love hitting," Wahl said. "And I love the environment that the fans bring and just being part of a team."
Along with her dynamic hitting, Wahl said she has improved overall as a volleyball player since her freshman season.
"I have definitely grown a lot and my stats can tell you that because from my freshman year when I started to my junior year, there's definitely an increase in my playing," Wahl said. "I improve myself by just becoming a faster player and reading the ball better, especially for defense."
Wahl's stats will also show you her versatility as a player. On top of slamming 308 kills and having a team-high .253 hitting percentage, she also is second on the team, only to libero Abby Wiggins, in digs with 256 and has served 30 aces.
Wahl's growth as a player is carrying over to the team's success. Last season, the Chargers went 14-11 and lost in the opening round of the Section 3A playoffs to Southwest Minnesota Christian.
This year, they're looking for more in the postseason as the No. 3 seed following a 22-4 record. They'll host No. 6 seed Edgerton Friday.
After the fall volleyball season ends, Wahl will transition to playing basketball in the winter and then softball in the spring.
The Globe interviewed and shot footage of Natalie during a W-WG volleyball practice prior to their section playoff game. To see the full video, visit
. Here is a sample of our interview.
QUESTION: In your opinion, what do you think it takes to be a good leader as a volleyball player?
ANSWER: "To be a good leader, you're definitely going to have to help people when they're down or when they're really struggling, and just to keep the energy going, especially if you're losing by five points and (are) just wanting to come back."
QUESTION: What is the best piece of advice you've gotten in your athletic career?
ANSWER: "My best piece of advice is probably to never give up and just keep trying and giving your all no matter what team you're playing or what sport you're playing."
QUESTION: Tell us something about yourself that most people may not know.
ANSWER: "Something that people probably don't know about me is that I'm a really good ice skater and that I used to play hockey when I was really little, but I couldn't continue that because it's far away."