The University Heights Academy volleyball team has had its most successful stretch in the program's short history the past few years.

Lily Hendricks has been an integral part of that.

Before Hendricks had put on a uniform for the Lady Blazers, the team had never won a district championship.

Now, the senior libero, a defensive specialist for her team, has put on a UHA jersey for the final time but finished her career after the most successful season in school history.

"Going into this year we thought we were going to be dominant and we just didn't know how the other teams were going to be and how we were going to place among them," Hendricks said. "But we thought we were going to go out and play our best every game. Our goal was to be in that region championship again and try to make history this year."

It was Hendricks' energy and ability to be in the right place at the right time that makes her the Toyota of Hopkinsville Southern Pennyrile Volleyball Athlete of the Year for the third consecutive year.

While she and the Lady Blazers fell short of the Second Region Tournament Championship they were looking for, they capped off the first 30-win season in program history.

Hendricks said even though the year didn't end the way she wanted it to, the ride was one to remember.

"Obviously, it hurt at first," she said. "After that, I looked back and it was an awesome year. We did a lot of great things. We had a lot of wins we hadn't had in the past against really good competition, and you realize that every team ends on a loss except for the state champions."

It was also a year to remember for Hendricks individually as well.

The senior finished with a team-high 543 digs in 100 sets of action, which is ranked at the top of the state on the year. Hendricks was one of just four liberos in the state to be named to the Kentucky Volleyball Coaches Association All-State honorees list as an honorable mention.

Hendricks said her parents have pushed her to perform at the highest level no matter the situation.

"I think both of my parents have instilled that in me," Henricks said of Carter and Faye Hendricks. "They've both been college athletes and they've taught me to work hard no matter what. If the score is 25-0 or you're up big, it doesn't matter."

It's been a little more special for Hendricks as her mother Faye has been the coach through her entire UHA career.

"She's pushed me a little differently than some coaches might and she's taught me a lot," she said. "It's been fun having that experience with her."

Looking back at her career, Hendricks finished with more than 900 kills, 2,100 digs and 500 aces. But what she will remember the most is the memories she made with her teammates along the way.

"It's been a really fun career. I've gotten to know a lot of girls, and they've become my friends," Hendricks said. "Just to be able to end it with a bang my senior year and have our best season, it was really exciting, and I'm looking forward to more memories with them."

Now Hendricks looks ahead to the future, where she will have some decisions to make in the coming months.

As far as where she will be next year -- that is one of those decisions.

"I'm not sure right now," Hendricks said of her future. "I have a few visits I'm going to be attending soon and we'll just see where that goes, but I'd like to play volleyball in college. Or potentially track or any other sport."

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