October 1, 2021 – By NJP
Colts Neck junior Maddie McSorley is one of New Jersey’s best liberos. This past Spring, Maddie finished second in the state in total digs as a sophomore and had the most digs of any returning player this Fall. So far this season, she is averaging almost 7 digs per set and dominating the defensive charge of a Cougars team that is 7-1 in the powerful Shore A North.
Maddie fits the mold of some of today’s best liberos on the college and pro volleyball landscape. She is a scrappy player that has a mentality that no ball drops. She is agile and filled with athleticism. And she finds ways to get under attacks by using explosive speed and angles that have you questioning “how did she possibly get that?”.
Many fans love watching volleyball because of the games power. They love the huge spikes and loud blocks that drive the intensity of the game and fans. But there is nothing more electric than an acrobatic lib who can keep their team in the game with solid defense. Maddie explained this well when we chatted, and we totally agree with her philosophy. Volleyball is such a complete sport with every players contribution setting the tone for success.
Part of what is truly amazing about Maddie’s skills, is not only that she has the ability to get to a ball, but she also has the ability to make a dime pass to her setter at the same time. There are tons of examples you will see in her highlight video.
The best part for the NJ volleyball community is that Maddie is still just a junior. We get to watch her through next season energize the Cougars and set the example for younger liberos and defensive specialists throughout New Jersey and beyond.
Here is our interview with Ms. McSorley…
Hi Maddie. Thanks for joining the NJP player interview club. Tell us a bit about yourself?
Hi! I’m Maddie McSorley, a Junior at Colts Neck High School and part of the graduating class of 2023. I live in Colts Neck, NJ with my mother, father, older brother Connor and my dog named Chief. My brother is a junior this year at University of Delaware. My family are my biggest fans, pushing me to be the greatest player and student that I can be. In my free time, I enjoy going out with my friends and family, reading, spending time with my dog, and of course, playing volleyball.
How long have you played volleyball and what inspired you to take up volleyball initially?
I started playing volleyball two years ago when I was a freshman. For most of my life, I was a dedicated soccer player and always thought soccer would be a big part of my life. But my brother had a different idea. He knew the volleyball program at my high school would be a positive and rewarding experience for me, so he suggested I take a break from soccer and give volleyball a try. I skeptically agreed thinking it would be difficult to step out of my comfort zone. But to my surprise it was the complete opposite. It felt comfortable and natural, and I knew instantly this was the sport for me. I love playing volleyball, especially the energy and sportsmanship of the game, and am extremely grateful to my brother for helping me find my passion!
What are your metrics/details? Height, vertical, position, club team, etc. What is your favorite position to play?
I am 5’5” and am a libero. For the past two years, I played for Garden State Attack but will be continuing with MOCO Volleyball Club this season which I am really excited about. I played many positions on my club team before I settled into the libero position, which is my favorite. For me, the feeling of getting a good dig or save is much more exhilarating than a kill, so my heart lies with defense.
Tell us about your Cougar teammates. Who do you expect to be this year’s up and coming and standout players in the Fall?
My Cougar teammates are amazing and talented players! We have a special chemistry working together on the court but have also forged a strong bond off the court. I consider them my second family and love every second I’m playing with them. Rising star OH, Mary Huegel, will be a force to be reckoned with this season. I am scared for anyone who is on the defensive line of her attack. Her ability to control out of system sets and find open spots on the opposing court is amazing. She is also a great defensive player, and I can always count on her in the back row. Another rising star is OH Alex Foley, who is an absolute beast. With an arm that has the engine of a rocket, she can definitely put the ball down. Her power also comes in handy when she is at the service line, helping lead our team to victory with her many aces. Sophia Koval, the quarterback of our team, has put a lot of time and hard work into becoming our setter this year. I know she will shine in her new position. Christianna Simon will also be a force to be reckoned with this season, controlling the right side with her power swings, and also helping the team with her strong serves.
Tell us about your club experience at Garden State Attack?
Without a doubt, my GSA club coach, Ryan McNeil, is the reason I’ve become the player I am today. He taught me the ins and outs of volleyball, especially how to read the opposing hitters. He always challenged me to be the best player I could be, and I am so grateful to have had him as a coach.
NJP considers you as one of the top players in the state. Do you plan on playing in college? If so, which ones are you looking at? What do you plan to study in college or what is your career path?
So far, I have been focusing on my academics and I am just starting my college search. I knew a year into playing volleyball that I wanted to continue the sport in college. I checked out a couple of colleges when my brother was looking, and James Madison University really stood out to me. It’s still early in the process so I am not totally sure what schools I want to attend, but I know that I want to pursue a career in the medical field.
You have had a breakout season as a sophomore this Spring and was right at the top of digs in the state with 273. What are your goals for the remainder of your high school career?
My goals are to continue working hard, be a valuable player, and help lead my team in my new role as co-captain. My high school coach, Gregory Hope, has given me many opportunities to excel in my position and I don’t plan on wasting them. I want to make my coach, along with my teammates, friends, and family proud!
What do you like the most about being one of NJ’s best libero’s?
I like being recognized for my hard-work and dedication to the game of volleyball. Being noticed as one of NJ’s best liberos is an honor that will fuel my fire to continue improving as a player.
Colts Neck has started the Fall season with three strong wins. How far can the Cougars go this season?
So far, we are having a very successful season taking it one game at a time. With everyone’s hard-work, passion, and dedication, I believe that our team can go far this year.
Which team is the toughest competitor you have played against this year or in your career?
That would be St. John Vianney and Toms River East at the Eastern Invitational Tournament on 9/11/21. We came into both of those matches the underdog, but with our hard-work, perseverance, and support of one another, we were able to pull out victories against these top ranked teams and took 1st place in the tournament. This was a major accomplishment for our team and marked the beginning of a great season.
What is more important to a volleyball team? Front line attack or back row defense?
I’d have to say back row defense. I’m partial to the quote, “Offense sells tickets, but defense wins games”. Every kill starts with a pass, and without a pass, the system would fall apart. Both lines have their special role in the game, but it all starts with defense.
Who is your favorite college or pro volleyball player and why?
Morgan Hentz, former libero from Stanford University, is my all-time favorite college player. What she can do on the court is amazing and inspires me to work hard to be the best defensive player I can be.
What one word describes you best?
Do you think attitude is a factor in winning?
Absolutely! While volleyball is a physical game there is a mental component to it as well. The minute you stop thinking positively your game can go downhill fast.
What is your favorite part of the NJP website?
I like reading the volleyball blogs on the NJP website. It’s helpful to know how the other teams are doing and how their games are going. It also helps me in preparing for games by giving me an idea of the tough players I need to watch out for.
How does athletics make you a better student or worker?
I’ve learned many valuable skills being an athlete, including work ethic, dedication, commitment, and perseverance that carry over to all aspects of my life. Applying these skills to my academics helps me in my pursuit to be the best student-athlete I can be.
Rank the top three priorities currently in your life.
Academics, volleyball and spending time with family and friends.
Favorite Quote and why:
“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard”
This is a motto that college player Victoria Garrick from USC lived by during her high school years that I can really relate to. With a relatively late start to the sport and so many talented peers, the only thing I could do was work really hard to progress as quickly as possible. I spent a lot of time practicing, taking lessons, watching college games and listening to everything Coach Ryan taught me. So when I was able to secure the libero position on my high school team sophomore year, I was honored to know that my coach recognized my hard-work and had confidence that I could get the job done.