Sydney Doby: The up-and-comer

GVSU middle blocker impresses in first year

By Tate Baker | 10/9/14 12:58am


While Grand Valley State University volleyball coach Deanne Scanlon was in Chicago on the recruiting trail watching future Laker Katie Olson, an explosive 6-foot-2 athlete caught her eye. The perfect timing of the situation allowed Scanlon to, in a sense, kill two birds with one stone.

After talking with Scanlon, that 6-foot-2 athlete with the athletic upside that attracts college coaches decided to visit GVSU. After a few more visits, freshman Sydney Doby became a member of the GVSU volleyball team.

“It was ironic how we discovered Sydney, sometimes those kind of things work out in the best ways for us,” Scanlon said. “(Sydney) has great size, at almost 6-foot-2. The fact that she is young for her grade, and also that she started playing at a high level at such a late age, really stuck out to us.”

Coming into the season, Doby didn’t expect to play a substantial role for the 2014 Laker volleyball team. Doby was prepared to learn from the bench and watch the veterans with years of college playing experience in front of her.

“Coming into this season, the thought of playing, even if it were a little or a lot didn’t really cross my mind,” Doby said. “I knew that there were several middles with more experience in front of me, so I was prepared to learn from them and take advantage of the chances that I did get on the court."

In the first six games of the season, Doby's envisioned first-year role became a reality. She saw limited time on the court, averaging just over one kill per game.

However, all of that changed when Doby made her first career start against Malone. In that start, the freshman had seven kills, seven blocks, five digs and one assist.

“About 10 minutes before the match, coach came up to me and said ‘you’re starting’ then she just walked off. I was definitely surprised,” Doby said. “Once coach gave me that opportunity, I was ready to go. The only thing on my mind at the time was volleyball. There weren’t any nerves that went along with it at all.”

Since making her first career start, Doby has become a mainstay in that middle spot for GVSU, averaging 6.8 kills and five blocks per game. It’s visible to her coaches and fellow teammates that Doby’s athletic abilities have overshadowed her inexperience thus far.

“Pretty much everyone on the team, including Sydney knew that she was capable of putting up the types of performances that she has done so far,” junior Kaleigh Lound said. “It came as a surprise that she’s already contributing this early, but she’s done a great job with handling that role so far."

Sydney Doby’s role may change several times -- not only this season, but throughout her career. But for now, you have to like the Lakers' chances with her on the court.

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