Senior aims for another conference title

Becca Lukasik has never assumed too much about her abilities when it comes to playing volleyball.

From her eighth-grade year, when she was simply hoping to make her first volleyball team, to last year, when she was surprised to make the all-conference team as a Hickory Ridge junior, sometimes Lukasik has underestimated herself.

Now that she's clearly one of the best players in the South Piedmont Conference, Lukasik is hopeful she can duplicate last year's season and help the Ragin' Bulls to another conference title.

A former cheerleader and gymnast, Lukasik was so excited about trying out for the volleyball team at C.C. Griffin Middle that she sought out some personal coaching on her own. Fortunately for her, all Lukasik had to do was walk up the street for it.

Lukasik lives in the same neighborhood as Hickory Ridge coach Patti Chason and her daughter, Jess Chason, who later starred at the University of Delaware. When Lukasik was in eighth grade, Jess Chason was a standout at Central Cabarrus and helped her young neighbor become fundamentally sound in volleyball.

Not only did Lukasik make her middle school team, she became a starter and helped C.C. Griffin win its conference tournament. Lukasik went on to play club volleyball for the Carolina Storm later that year.

In her first year at Hickory Ridge, Lukasik played on the junior varsity team, which she led to an undefeated season in the SPC. Coming off a season as team captain, she was determined to make varsity her sophomore season.

Having achieved her goal, Lukasik had to get used to playing a reserve role. During a mid-season game at Mount Pleasant, Lukasik took advantage of some increased playing time and played one of her best matches to turn herself into an integral player, mostly on the right side.

Her success was a confidence booster and Lukasik increased her off-season training in hopes of making an even bigger impact.

"Even though I got a lot of playing time in my sophomore year ... I was worried about playing time," said Lukasik.

Summer runs through her neighborhood helped her increase her endurance and agility. Sand volleyball games at Frank Liske Park helped improve her passing and hitting skills.

Lukasik became a fixture in the starting lineup as an outside hitter and helped the Ragin' Bulls to a third straight season in which they either shared or won the conference outright. She ranked third on the team with 130 kills and a 95 percent serving accuracy. Her teammates voted her the Bulls' offensive player of the year.

"It was a really good season for me," said Lukasik. "I was astonished when I was named all-conference.

"I think a lot of it was confidence in myself and not playing as timid as I used to. I used to be scared to mess up ... instead of going for points and trying to win."

Lukasik has been involved in Hickory Ridge's student council for four years and was voted the school's executive board vice-president for her senior year. Lukasik says she has been contacted by small colleges interested in her volleyball skills but adds that she's interested in attending a school that offers a major related to medicine.

"I would love to play volleyball but if I don't I will have major withdrawal," said Lukasik. "So I will at least play club or intramurals."