Lainee Selan sharpens her skills at the beach
WINCHESTER – A fearless competitor on the volleyball court, senior Lainee Selan has been spending her summer at the beach. But Selan isn’t your typical teenager lounging on a towel while soaking up the sun. Instead, she is devoting her time at the beach to sharpening her volleyball skills.
This offseason, Selan decided to challenge herself and improve her talents by playing in a league run by the Blue Ridge Volleyball Association.
There are several huge differences between 6-man volleyball on the hardwood compared to a pair of players trekking through the sand.
“It’s much harder to move quickly because the sand is so thick,” explained Selan. “You think it wouldn’t hurt as much diving into sand but sometimes it does, just because of the way you land because it is so uneven. But honestly, it’s the same to me. I will throw myself there if it means to make the play, because my goal is to win.”
Playing in Winchester, Selan has been paired up with a talented youngster named Mia Walsh from Williamsport, Md. One big advantage of playing beach volleyball is the high level of competition.
“We are playing against girls that are going D1,” Selan asserted.
When playing for the Trojans, Selan is unafraid to mimic Superman and dive after any ball within reach, even if that means landing in the stands.
Hampshire Head Coach Megan Fuller chorused those same sentiments when describing Selan. “Lainee is a tenacious competitor who absolutely hates to lose,” said Fuller.
“These characteristics are must-haves when playing beach volleyball. Everything is more difficult and takes more effort in the sand. Lainee also has the enthusiasm and spirit that is a plus in all venues, but almost a necessity when playing in the beach element. Playing in the harsher conditions with fewer teammates takes a person with a lot of self-motivation and determination.”
While beach volleyball sharpens her skills, Selan’s goal heading into her senior season is to take the Green and White back to Charleston.
During the 3-week open period, Selan already noticed some development to her game. “It has made me move way more, and made me confident in taking the ball, being louder and constantly talking has made me play smarter.”
Selan has been influenced by Hampshire volleyball since childhood, starting around 4th grade.
Her interest in the game began to flourish when she would watch her older sister, Brittany LaBossiere, play for the Trojans.
“My sister was a libero for Hampshire, and I would go to all her games. I knew I wanted to be like that,” Selan recalled.
Motivated to be like her older sibling, Selan started teaching herself how to do touches and improve her craft.
“I would hit the volleyball off the roof, then pass, set and hit it, then the ball would roll back down to me and I would do it over again until I got better at it.”
Selan grew her game playing at Romney Middle School before taking her talents to Hampshire High and playing for Coach Fuller.
Winning is something Selan is familiar with as she played a major role in the 2019 HHS squad that won sectionals last season, then beat Hedgesville in Regionals to earn a trip to Charleston.
“Honestly, that was the best feeling in the world,” recounted Selan when describing what it was like to play in the Civic Center.
“You just felt like you were untouchable. It was amazing.”
In order to make that return trip to the state capital this season, Selan’s good friend Renee Killough (arguably the best spiker in West Virginia) will play a major factor up front.
Killough talked about what makes Selan an exceptional competitor and an outstanding friend.
“Lainee is a perfectionist who plays with determination and high energy all the time,” said Killough.
“Lainee will find a way to score, always try to improve and she’ll continue to keep playing even smarter and with more confidence. She is a friend to everyone she plays with and always makes everyone around her feel welcome.”
On the horizon for Selan is a beach volleyball tournament in Virginia Beach during the middle of August.
“I am definitely going to take that opportunity because it is only going to make me better.”
So which version of volleyball does Selan prefer?
“Honestly I like beach better because I get so many more reps and touches, and you are constantly playing,” chuckled Selan.
It’s hard to look down the road without seeing the obstacle of COVID-19, but Selan remains positive and continues to work hard in full preparation of an upcoming season. “Honestly, I am praying there will be a season.” o