O’Clair takes over as senior management as Crestwood VB eliminates Lakewood

Coaches always want their biggest leaders to step into their biggest games.

When the Crestwood volleyball team traveled to Lakewood last Thursday to play a regional game against their biggest rival, head coach Collin Kremer wanted to see one of his senior five lead the charge.

Olivia O’Clair was more than ready to answer that call.

O’Clair did a bit of everything for the Lady Knights, dispensing assists and leading an offensive push as a server and striker. Crestwood took the win in straight sets and O’Clair followed with another individual win, earning Hines Furniture Athlete of the Week recognition.

“It’s truly a blessing,” O’Clair said of the honor. “Just the support and congratulations after winning means a lot to me.”

O’Clair is preparing for the Lady Knights, so his first job is to hand out assists. She did it in spades, serving her teammates for points 20 times. That number of assists requires chemistry with a number of hitters. Although she’s played with several teammates for years, O’Clair said their work in the offseason really laid the foundation for last week’s success.

“I think our summer workouts helped us a lot with our chemistry and just years of playing with them,” O’Clair said. “Learning what they think of their sets, how they should set up their games.”

The senior is also the team’s best server, leading the way with six aces in the win. O’Clair said she wanted to use her serve to put the game away as they began to take a lead.

“When we started to take that lead I knew we had to keep it and I think serving is the biggest individual part of the game,” she said.

She added three more kills and provided a sharp defense with seven digs. The eldest was happy to do whatever she could to help the team win.

“I think it helps a lot to know that I can support my team and know that they trust me,” O’Clair said. “It gives me confidence to do what I have to do to get this win.”

Kremer is proud to have a senior who can lead by example like O’Clair.

“If you have a leader who tries to tell people how to do something and can’t do it themselves, they won’t react well and start to shut down,” Kremer said. “Having a leader who can step up, do whatever she preaches and show that she knows what she’s talking about, it gets everyone behind her, rallies them and really encourages them to perform better.”

In addition to her game on the court, Kremer saw a player who provided the energy to recover her teammates.

“What really stood out to me was her senior leadership. She really became the vocal eldest,” Kremer said. “She keeps the energy alive; she keeps everyone in check and where they need to be and they respond well to her. That’s what really helped us against Lakewood.”

It’s always good to beat a rival, but it’s doubly important when opening regional play. O’Clair was thrilled to set the tone as the Lady Knights looked to begin their push for the playoffs.

“It really strengthens us as a team, it really boosts our confidence,” O’Clair said. “It’s good to win this rival and it motivates us for the rest of our season.

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