Each season brings a new skill for Alyssa Hain, an outside hitter for the La Reina High volleyball team.
Hain was a setter when she joined the Regent varsity in 1993. But Coach Don Hyatt restructured from a traditional one-setter offense to a multifaceted attack that takes advantage of Hain's leaping ability.
Last summer, Hain developed an effective jump-serve. Several of La Reina's players have copied Hain's lead, fooling around with the jump-serve in practice, and some have even used it during the league season. But Hain, a 5-foot-7 junior, is the only one Hyatt allows to use the serve in playoff games.
In Tuesday night's Division IV first-round State playoff match against San Diego Clairemont, Hain served 10 aces.
Hain's all-around play is the reason La Reina has a chance in its first State playoff appearance, especially if the fourth-seeded Regents upset top-seeded Tollhouse Sierra Saturday night.
Hain leads La Reina with 91 aces, 289 kills and 344 assists.
For Hain, La Reina advancing to the State playoffs was a welcome surprise. The Regents (20-2) have been eliminated in the Southern Section divisional quarterfinals three consecutive years. But this season, due to a lack of available teams, La Reina received an invitation.
"We thought we were done when we lost," Hain said. "Now we're just excited to be playing."