Can you dig it? Solai Pham can!

Skylan Akins

Mt. Vernon’s defensive digger Solai Pham earns a dig last season for the Lady Mt’neers. (Photo submitted)

Mt. Vernon senior eclipses 1,000 career digs
Defense is a lost art. You can look at some of the greatest defenders in sports history. Ray Lewis, Lawrence Taylor, Derrick Thomas, and Dion Sanders. Avid football fans may recognize these names but others maybe not. However, football fans and non-football fans alike know who Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes are. If you talk to Mt. Vernon volleyball's libero Solai Pham, she wants the defensive side of the ball to get more recognition.
“Defense has been one of those things that has been big to me all my life. I have been putting in hours on hours of work on that side of the net,” Pham said.
One of the most quoted phrases in sports today is “Offense wins games, defense wins championships.”
Pham responds to that quote.
“You can have a strong offense, but if you don’t have a defense then you’re not getting very far. I think we were balanced this year. Cam (Cassity) and the front row was really good this year and we had a good back row, as well. Having that help on the back end is big. You can't not have a defense to get the ball up," Pham said. "It is 50/50 once you get the ball up. You expect the front row to do their thing just like they expect the back row to get the ball up. It is a two-way street.”

Pham did her part in getting the ball up again and again. She has ended her career in the top five in Mt. Vernon history in digs per set, amassing more than 1,000 digs in her career.
“I remember my freshman year watching Ashlyn (McCanless) get 1,000, and I thought it was awesome. You never think you’ll be able to do it until you do, and I have never been one to recognize myself, but this is a really big thing to be proud of,” Pham said.
She has even started getting recognized as one of the best defensive players in the entire state, as she was named to the All-Conference, All-District, and All-State teams a year ago. This year she was named to the Mt. Vernon All-Tournament team back in September. She was recently named to the All-District team for this season and will likely be named to the 2021 All-State team, as well.
“Coach (Bridgette) Schmutz always tells us that you never know unless you try," Pham said. "You can stand there and watch the ball hit the ground but if you try you never know. After starting to try for some those balls that I didn’t think I could get, I was able to start making more and more plays.”
Pham's career in a Mt’neer uniform has reached an end, but the legacy she leaves remains in the record book.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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