But for Leath, the awards and statistics are not what matters. It’s about staying consistent and putting forth her best effort for her teammates.
Leath said it comes from her newfound confidence.
“It wasn’t something that happened over night, and I think that it’s taken time,” Leath said. “But that’s where maturity and my game is coming to the place that I’m happy with it.”
First-year outside hitter Julia Scoles said Leath helped her grow her confidence as a player and develop trust in her teammates.
“It’s awesome,” Scoles said. “She’s such a great teammate and leader, and she always knows the right thing to say.”
Leath’s personality is one of consistency and confidence, which is something she has learned from her coaches during practice.
Sagula remembers a tip in the third set that showed how Leath has evolved.
“She had a smile on her face like, ‘Hey, I haven’t done that before,’” Sagula said.
Leath showed that feistiness throughout the game in her kills and stifling blocks. At one point, her intensity got the best of her, as a referee warned her to calm down after celebrating a successful block.
Laughing about it after the game, Leath said she was glad he didn’t give her a yellow card.
“We are out there competing and we have a purpose,” Leath said. “That happens every once in a while. It was kind of one of those uncontrollable moments.”
Sagula liked Leath’s intensity.
“She was great, and the team woke up from that,” he said. “I know that they made a run (in the second set), but it set the tone as like, ‘Hey, we’re going to be aggressive; we’re going to go after it.”
Those moments are the product of extra work off the court from Leath, like one-on-one meetings with Sagula to focus on improving and to build trust.
“I’ve yelled at her a lot, and I’ve told her that I need more from her,” Sagula said. “She’s a really important player, and she can’t cruise.”
The tough love from her coaches has paid off, especially Wednesday against the Wolfpack.
“She is a big part of our success without question,” Sagula said. “When she is going hard, she makes everyone else want to play well.”