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Sports Spotlight: D.H. Conley’s Philpot grows into leader, star middle hitter for the Vikings

Senior Ella Philpot works hard for confidence, skill
Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 6:38 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - D.H. Conley volleyball’s senior middle hitter has grown into their leader. It took work.

We feature Ella Philpot in this week’s Pepsi Sports Spotlight.

D.H. Conley senior middle hitter Ella Philpot started playing volleyball at age 6, playing travel at age 9, and worked to fuel the sibling rivalry with sister Ashlyn who now both star for the Vikings.

“We are both very similar in our work ethic, so we both expect a lot out of each other,” says D.H. Conley senior Ella Philpot, “I just love being on the court and looking to my left and she is right there.”

“To see them on the court, pushing each other, they are both very competitive,” says D.H. Conley head coach Jennifer Gillikin, “they want to be the best they can be.”

Ella has traveled to Raleigh for years to work on her game during the school offseason.

“Triangle Volleyball Club,” Ella says.

Playing with top girls from all over the east. Philpot put in the miles to improve.

“Tournaments nationwide. Last year we played in Florida, Georgia, Las Vegas for nationals,” says Philpot, “Ginormous convention center with at least like hundreds of courts. I’ve never played that many great teams all in one time.”

Ella has taken her skills and applied them for D.H. Conley.

“She’s the kid, that when she gets a big kill, that everybody rallies behind,” says Gillikin, “She seems to come through with those just when we need them.”

It wasn’t always easy for her...

“My sophomore year, I broke my ankle. Worked to get back in there and I made it back to the playoffs,” Ella says.

...and leading wasn’t always Ella’s strength.

“I was very shy on the court and I had to work,” says Philpot, “Being on this team it has helped me become more of a leader. I’m very vocal. I like to try to push my team and get the best out of them.”

Ella’s growth helped lead the Vikings to the class 3A state title last season.

“That night I think we won the last point and I didn’t even sink in. I was just like wow,” Ella says, “It was amazing to see your team united play that well.”

United on the floor again for senior year and a move up to 4A. The goal of a title remains, but seizing each moment means the more.

“It’s the last time I get to play with my sister,” Ella says, “it’s the last time I get to play with all my friends all together.”

If you know of a local athlete we should feature in our Pepsi Sports Spotlight please let us know about them. You can email us your nominees to spotlight@witn.com .

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