In just her second year, Glendale Mountain Ridge middle blocker Madison Witt has surpassed her competition to become azcentral sports’ West Valley Player of the Year and start a legacy of success at her high school.
While the 5-foot-11 senior lacks height, her speed and athleticism allows her to excel against larger opponents to help secure a 64-12 career record and two semifinal appearances in the Division I state tournament. Alongside her twin sister McKenna, Witt soared to become one of the state’s most lethal shot blockers.
“We started to run a faster offense,” Mountain Ridge coach Jen McGauley said. “Madison was really just too quick for anyone who went up against her.”
Playing with her sister helped, too, as their feel for when and where to put the block up became a lethal weapon for a program that was on the flirting around the .500 mark just two seasons ago.
“I love playing with my sister,” Madison said. “I’m glad that we play the same sport and we love the same things… In volleyball we are like the same person so it’s really fun the block with her.”
McKenna, who plays outside hitter, has seen the benefits of playing alongside someone who is a lot alike.
“In blocking we work together and just flow,” McKenna said. “We have a solid block all the time. I don’t really have the same connection with the other middle as I do with her.”
In the middle of the season, Madison had to overcome some adversity as she broke the smallest toe on her foot. While it wasn’t a major injury, it looked as if it would hamper her play, and it was so bad the trainers had to tape it three times so she could put her shoe on, according to McGauley.
“She realized mentally she had to put all the stuff that brings you down away because she had to focus on what she was doing,” McGauley said. “Until the end of the season and then all of state playoffs, Madison was just on fire. It was one of those things where I said ‘Now is her game. Give her the ball.’ The setters, everytime she was in the front row, just forced the ball to her. She was just so motivated.”
Madison became the dominant presence on the team, a not-so-common feat by a middle blocker as the glory is usually reserved for the outside hitters.
“We were short on middle blockers so we had to do a lot more reps,” Madison said. “You are involved in every play, running back and forth on the net and closing every block. It’s just a really hard job.”