Tupelo’s Farmer sisters use height to their advantage

Hannah Farmer’s not crazy about being 6-foot-2.
“She likes to say she’s 6-1,” says the freshman’s Tupelo High School volleyball coach, Clint Jordan. “When she was measured before the season she was 6-2.”
Hannah’s sister, Sarah, her sophomore teammate on the Lady Wave team, wouldn’t mind adding two inches to her 6-foot frame.
“I would kill to be her height. Why? For sports … and because I’m older,” Sarah said, then laughed.
The third Farmer playing for Tupelo, older sister Rachel, a 6-foot junior, says she and her siblings have “always been the tallest” on their sports teams and in their classes.
“The height has helped us in volleyball,” Rachel said. “Especially when Sarah and Hannah are on the front row with me.”
Height runs in the family, says mom Susan, who’s 5-7. Their father, Stephen, is 6-2, and the sisters have some tall relatives, too.
“They’ve always loved sports,” mom said. “They played coach-pitch baseball, basketball, then picked up volleyball. Now they just play volleyball. It’s great they’re all are headed in the same direction.”

More than expected
Coach Jordan certainly enjoys having his shot-blocking, shot-making front line. Behind the play of the Farmers, the Lady Wave has compiled a 17-5 record, including a 3-0 mark in its division.
“A tremendous amount of our success can be attributed to them,” he said. “I really wasn’t expecting a whole lot from them. Now I do.”
Jordan said the sisters’ youth and inexperience on the volleyball court was the reason for his caution. Rachel and Sarah entered the season playing new positions, Rachel middle blocker and Sarah toss setter. Hannah’s lone experience had been on the middle school level.
“I didn’t expect them to catch on so fast,” Jordan said. “It’s a tribute to them and how smart (4.0 GPA students) they are.”
Another plus is that the sisters get along well.
“Sisters are going to fight, but we really don’t,” Rachel said. “We back each other up on the court.
“We all think alike, but we have different personalities.”
Rachel brings a lot of versatility to the lineup, Jordan notes.
“She can play all three front positions. She’s a good setter and passer,” he said. “She’s the best I’ve ever coached when it comes to understanding the game.”
Rachel believes she plays her best from the right side of the court.
“I can read everything easier,” she said. “I can time the point of contact from the net easier.”
Jordan also likes Sarah’s versatility.
“She can block and set shots,” he said. “She also hits the ball well, too. She can set a shot or she can turn and hit one. She does a good job keeping the defense off-balance.”
Sarah prefers playing on the front line because she enjoys attacking the ball.
“When I played back I couldn’t jump, couldn’t go to the net,” she said.
Despite her lack of playing time prior to this season, Hannah has put her 6-2 frame and long arms to good use.
“Obviously, she blocks well,” Jordan said. “She’s got good instincts. She gets to the ball and uses her height and reach to her advantage.”
Hannah credits her older sisters, and her height, for her progress this season.
“I watch them and do what they do,” she said. “Having the height helps a lot when it comes to blocking and hitting. People can’t jump as high as my arms can reach.”
Height does have its advantages.

Contact Gene Phelps at 678-1593 or at gene.phelps@djournal.com

Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

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