CITY OF TONAWANDA — It's been a tough season for Tonawanda girls volleyball.
The Warriors went 0-12 on the season and 11 of those losses came in league play. For whatever reason the team was never able to really come together, but it wasn't for lack of talent or leadership.
Senior captain Danielle Palladino has been the team's rock all season, but it was senior outside hitter Whitney Owens that really came on late for the Warriors.
"Whitney has been a consistent player for the last two years but she's really stepped up her game (late this season)," said Tonawanda coach Lindsay Morris. "She's become a leader on the court and you can always count on her to make the play that we need. When it's a close game we're always like: 'We're going to Whitney.'"
Owens started playing volleyball because it looked like fun, but it quickly became a passion. She now hopes to play at the college level after she graduates.
Dealing with the team's struggles this season has been difficult for Owens, especially since she sees so much talent around her at Tonawanda.
"Our team is awesome we just don't communicate very well," Owens said. "It's difficult because this is my last year with all these girls and I want to make the best out of it. It's aggravating because we're all very talented."
"We have talent and when we're playing it's always close games but we can't seem to finish," Morris added. "I think we're lacking in passing and it's (made) us struggle a little bit."
Owens calls her approach to life and volleyball aggressive, and that helps her play tough. She loves to spike the ball and said "it's the best feeling in the world, especially when you're able to get a kill."
In a game against Alden earlier this season, Owens recorded 15 kills and the Warriors hung tough with the fifth place ECIC IV squad. Owens said she felt like a superstar and that it's games like that one that make her push to get even better.
Morris said she's grateful for Owens' contributions this season and thinks she'll be successful in anything that she does because she always gives her best effort.
"She's a great person," Morris said. "She does good in school and she's always coming to our fundraisers and hasn't missed a practice. She's that dedicated type of player on the court and in school."
Contact Sports Editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000 ext. 4117 and find Tonawanda News sports on Twitter @tonanewssports