At 5-foot-10-inches, Copperas Cove senior outside hitter Janice Faaola provides leadership, stability and firepower to a Bulldawgs team that head coach Cari Lowery passionately refers to as “the little program that could.”
Faaola, who has lettered three years under Lowery, was recently named a MaxPreps/AVCA Player of the Week for helping guide Copperas Cove on a lengthy winning streak. As of press time, the Bulldawgs possess a 12-2 district mark and a 30-11 overall record and are primed to punch their ticket to the playoffs.
Lowery praised Faaola for displaying excellence on the court and in the classroom, touting her work ethic and great attitude.
“She’s not real emotional,” the coach told Texas Scorecard. “She’s very coachable. She’s extremely smart and in the top 10 of her class. She works very hard. Always in a good mood and is very committed and dedicated to me and my vision of what the program ought to be.”
Regarding Lowery’s vision, Copperas Cove has notched a postseason berth in every year of her nearly 15-year tenure at the Central Texas campus, with her players serving as good examples for each other, their classmates and even the younger children in the community. The coach added that Faaola is an adamant believer in her philosophy.
“This will be our 14th consecutive year in the state playoffs, so we have high expectations for our kids,” Lowery said. “I’m old-school about all those things that athletics should be about, which is discipline, responsibility, leadership, hard work and just being a good, all-around person. And Janice is that. She’s everything any coach could want out of a player.”
Faaola is a key contributor in the Bulldawgs’ offensive attack as she averages nearly four kills per set. She leads the team in aces and is in the top five in blocks and digs.
“When she hits, she hits the ball hard,” Lowery said. “She’s very smart on the court. She sees the court well. She sees open spots on the court. She can change up what she hits from one attack to the next. She’s a very powerful, athletic, quick and smooth athlete.”
Faaola’s Player of the Week honor was the result of a remarkable line of 39 kills, 26 digs and four blocks in seven sets played during the week of Oct. 7-13. Add to that all-district and academic all-district nods earned in her underclassman years and you get one of the best players to ever suit up in the royal blue and gold. For her numerous selfless contributions to the Bulldawgs program, Faaola’s teammates selected her captain, a role that she takes very seriously.
“She steps in and shows the other girls every day how to work hard,” Lowery said. “She’s never satisfied. She wants to get better. She expects the same out of her teammates. She’s a great leader on and off the floor.”
As the season winds down and the playoffs begin, Lowery expects Faaola and the squad to keep moving toward a single goal. If there’s any doubt as to what that goal is, Lowery explains that Copperas Cove breaks every huddle by yelling, “State champs!”