Arlington’s Hadley Carlson is the 2021 Volleyball Register Player of the Year. The senior led the Cardinals to a 31-7 record and a seventh-place finish in the Class B State Tournament.
Carlson said getting to the State Tournament was a goal that she always set for herself and it was great to finally accomplish it.
“[Getting to the State Tournament] was literally a dream come true. I was super excited and it was just unbelievable. We knew that we could do it obviously, but I can’t thank my teammates enough because I couldn’t be who I am as player without them. I think it was a dream come true because it was my goal and they had the same goal,” Carlson said.
Carlson had 1,849 kills in her career, which is the most in Arlington history. She finished second all-time in digs for Arlington with 1,812.
Arlington head coach Josie Weber said Carlson is a complete player and the stats back it up.
“She’s good in the front and the back row. She’s just an all-around complete player, which is really impressive. She’s pretty much able to get every ball off the floor even when you think it shouldn’t be able to. She can make anything turn into a kill in the front row,” Weber said.
In her senior season, Carlson racked up 758 kills (6.59 per set) and had a hitting percentage of .361. She had 589 digs (5.12 per set), 27 blocks and 143 service aces. Carlson was the third Arlington player ever to have more than 500 digs in a season.
Carlson was named to the All-State First Team and was the Dakota Valley Conference MVP. She said the hard work ethic that she learned from her former coach is what drove her to put up the big numbers.
“I’ve honestly loved volleyball since I’ve started playing it, so I knew wanted to be good at it. I put in a lot of work and went to a lot of camps and stuff like that. … Anita Beck was my coach when I first started and I think she instilled that determination and work ethic, which honestly I think has a lot to do with how good I am,” Carlson said.
Weber said that in addition to the impressive numbers she puts up, Carlson does a great job of leading.
“Everyday in practice she demands the best from herself. She’s kind of a perfectionist that way. But she also expects a lot from her teammates too and she does a great job of supporting and encouraging others. If someone is struggling she makes sure she lifts them up or if someone is struggling in practice she makes sure that they’re stepping up and doing their best. She’s just been a great leader that way,” Weber said.
Carlson added that she has always has been a leader, but put more of an emphasis on it this season.
“I feel like I’ve always kind of taken on [the leadership] role. Obviously being a senior you have to be a leader because everyone is looking up to you and everybody in the stands is also watching to see how you’re going to react and handle certain situations. I think I’ve always been a leader and have been willing to work hard. I can be a good role model to those who need someone to look up to,” Carlson said.
When looking back on her career, Carlson said she wants people to remember her work ethic.
“Honestly I just want people to remember how hard I worked,” Carlson said. “Because you put in all this work and you want to be good and you want people to know your working hard and you want people to work just as hard as you’re working.
“So I think it’s important for people to know that you can’t just be good. You have to put in a lot of effort because you have to give up a lot of stuff in order to be good and I think that has a lot to do with it. My work ethic is what I want people to remember about me.”
Carlson said she has not decided what she is going to do after high school. She also plays basketball for Arlington. She said what she’ll remember most about her volleyball career is the relationships she built with the people in the program.
“[I’m going to remember] the people,” Carlson said. “I’m surrounded by such an amazing program. Anita Beck who was an amazing coach and then Josie [Weber] who has been so supportive and open to helping me and making sure I’m working hard and being a good leader. I think she’s also really good to talk to too because she was once in my shoes playing for Arlington and she knows what it’s all about. The people I’m surrounded with, everyone is just super grateful and everybody wants to be there and that’s just a super important factor and something I love about Arlington volleyball.”