By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer
Leader. Game-changer. Setter. Junior Hannah Lockin is the driving force of the No. 3 Baylor volleyball team, and she loves to take the pressure that comes with it.
No. 3 on the Baylor all-time assists list, Lockin embodies the game-manager role. She takes pride in controlling the flow of the game, just as a signal-caller does on the football field.
“That’s obviously similar to a quarterback getting to decide who they throw to or if they take it themselves and run with it,” Lockin said. “But also you have to know the game plan. You have to be on top of it all the time.”
When the ball is returned to Baylor’s side, she has some choices to make. The setter has to choose first whether to let the ball pass go by her or not. If she does, it’s up to her whether to set the ball to one of the hitters or attempt a dump herself.
“The setter controls and touches the ball every rally,” Lockin added. “You get to make the decisions … you have the ability to fix a mistake that you made and give the ball right back to a hitter.”
Lockin also has a responsibility on defense, and she already has 10 matches this season with a double-digit dig count. Her length also allows her to play well on either line, able to bounce between setting, blocking and digging easily.
“I love that part about being a setter and getting to play in the back row and the front row … I feel like I get to train it all,” Lockin said. “I’m on the defense and offense at the same time, which I think is really fun.”
All that responsibility leads to a certain level of pressure on the setter. She said that is exactly what she’s looking for on the court.
“I feel like the team kind of looks to the setter to get stuff done in crucial, crucial moments,” Lockin said. “You really get to have a say in whether your team wins or loses.”
There’s pressure with being a setter, and then there’s pressure with being a leader. Her teammates said Lockin has all the power and confidence to handle the game.
“I’m really impressed with Hannah’s maturity and leadership on this team,” senior middle blocker Shelly Stafford said. “She’s really stepped up and carried the team in a way that we definitely need her to.”
“Hannah Lockin has so much freedom to do what she wants with the ball, and that really opens us up,” Gia Milana, the senior outside hitter, said. “It just makes it so easy.”
The recognition goes beyond the players. Baylor head coach Ryan McGuyre is in his fifth season at the helm, and Lockin is the most prolific and accomplished setter he’s had as a Bear.
“Hannah Lockin is doing a great, great job managing the offense. I just feel her decision making is a testament to what coach [Samantha] Erger is doing in training her,” McGuyre said. “She’s just matured so much.”
Even with all the pressure and expectations and training, there’s fun in the job, too. She said one of her favorite parts of choosing what happens in the flow of the offense is when she gives herself a little treat.
“A setter dump. I do enjoy those,” Lockin said as she laughed. “It’s fun when you feel it and then you do get the dump and nobody even knew what was coming.”