Scheels Athlete of the Week: West High's Laffey Quietly Putting Together Strong Season


By Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

IOWA CITY – Maddie Laffey has quietly become a solid hitting option for West High this season.

That’s pretty much the way Laffey does everything – quietly.

“She is a quiet kid but she is one of those kids that leads by example,” West High coach Scott Sanders said. “She is one of those silent assassins.”

In her senior season Laffey is working on being more of a vocal leader but she still prefers to let her play do the talking.

Over the last week its spoke volumes.

Laffey matched a career-high with six kills three times in the last week helping Class 5A No. 9 West High (16-10) to a runner-up finish at the Dubuque Hempstead tournament last week.

“Maddie has always been pretty quiet but she is starting to talk a little more and she’s playing really well,” West High senior Colby Greene said. “We are definitely glad to have her.”

After appearing in 19 sets last season Laffey was determined to earn an increased role this season as a senior.

The 6-foot-1 hitter spent the offseason working on improving her strength and vertical jump.

The strength and conditioning work was easy for Laffey, what came harder was becoming a more vocal leader.

“I haven’t been the biggest talker but since I’m a senior this year I’ve been trying to be louder,” Laffey said. “It’s kind of hard for me but I’ve been trying my best.”

Coaches and teammates have been impressed with Laffey in all areas this season.

Laffey ranks fifth on the team with 83 kills this season but has played her best volleyball of late.

She had 24 kills to help West High to a 4-2 mark at the Dubuque Hempstead tournament last week.

Laffey had six kills in a win over sixth-ranked Dubuque Hempstead and equaled that total in a loss to No. 8 Bettendorf.

“Last year she was one of those kids that was the right kind of awkward kids, she’d get those awkward points,” Sanders said. “Now you give her a ball with some pace on it and she’s going to do something with it.”

Laffey picked the perfect time to be playing her best volleyball.

Fellow senior Emily Burtch had sustained an injury at the Dubuque Hempstead tournament that expects to keep her sidelined for several weeks.

With Burtch and her 84 kills on the bench that means more opportunities for Laffey.

Laffey was able to make the most of those opportunities on Tuesday, following up a strong weekend with six kills in a loss to second-ranked Cedar Rapids Jefferson on Tuesday.

“She came in and did exactly what we needed her to,” Sanders said. “We are going to lean on her a little more now that we have Emily Burtch out.”