Jenna Mullins is what Southside volleyball coaches Steve Haaser and Natalie Throneberry consider the ultimate team player.
Mullins isn't so sure.
Southside's first-year right side hitter didn't seek a change of scenery on the floor, moving from her natural setter position to right side hitter, giving Haaser a final piece to the 2018 puzzle.
But Mullins isn't complaining.
"The past three years have been crazy; a bunch of different girls — a bunch of different personalities," she said. "But honestly, this year has been a great year for me, and this team, actually, I think it's been the best one."
Mullins and the Mavericks (29-3) face Van Buren today at 1 p.m. in the quarterfinal round of the 6A state tournament.
Haaser uses Mullins as a secondary setter on serve-receive.
The position change allowed sophomores Aleigha Johnson and Avery Fitzgerald to flex their muscles on the front row, where they've meshed with senior hitters Hannah Holland, Reagan Scifres and Zoe Rogers.
Mullins? The six-foot former Chaffin Cougar does a lot of things that go unnoticed.
"She doesn't really show up in the stats but it allows us to have a better passer on the back row, because of what she can do, and the other girls can't do that," Haaser said. "She's a valuable part of this team, and she has been for three years.
"You need players like that to give you a complete game, and she gives us that."
"Jenna's worked really hard from her junior year to her senior year to improve on the right side," Throneberry said. "I think defense was something that she kind of had to learn at that position. She's done so good at adapting to covering the tip, and it's been wonderful to have her as the secondary serve-receive.
"It really changed our game plan."
Mullins averaged 3.4 assists per set in 2017 as compared with this season's 1.7. She has 20 kills, including a season-high four in a Sept. 18 win over Little Rock Central.
"I was never really a hitter, so this is new for me, and still is," Mullins said. "I've played it for a little while now, but it's still different."
Mullins' key contribution (the one that goes unnoticed) is her stellar serve-receive play. She's had only three ball handling errors this season, including none since a 3-2 win over North Little Rock on Sept. 6 — 21 matches ago.
"My sophomore and junior year I was setting on the back row," Mullins said. "When Jenny Tipton came in my sophomore year, that would move me to the front row. The pressure of playing the right side and not setting as much ... I miss it. I wish I could set more, but I'm happy wherever I am."
"Jenna's been a steady player for us," Haaser said. "It seems like a lot of times the hitters, the setters and the servers get noticed a little more, but she gives us a presence on the front row that a lot of girls can't. She's 6-foot tall and she has great hands."
Mullins' move to Southside is one she contemplated on for a time.
"I love playing for him (Haasesr)," she said. "I love playing for this team; I'm glad I chose Southside."
While at Chaffin, one half of Southside's main junior feeder schools, Mullins debated on whether to attend Northside or Southside. She was on the fence a little as to follow her Fort Smith Juniors coach, Matt Waack, to Northside, or sign on to play for Haaser's Mavericks.
She chose Southside.
"There was a little bit of doubt, just because Matt Waack was my FSJ coach," Mullins said. "I'm definitely glad I made the decision to come here."
Now, with three potential matches left to play, it's a matter of survive and advance.
"We definitely know that to push through there will be challenges," Mullins said. "Going into state, they're (opponents) aiming for us; we know that. We just have to push back. Coach tells us to push back, and when they (opponents) push, we always do. We just have to remember to push even harder."