Transfer Hayden Goodman has thrived on and off the court as Miner
On Tuesday, Oct. 22 the Park City volleyball team celebrated senior night with a 3-0 victory over visiting Springville. As the final point was tallied, the Miners began celebrating on their side of the net, but above them all stood junior middle Hayden Goodman.
Although she wasn’t a senior, Goodman might’ve had the biggest smile on the team knowing what this season has meant to her.
“It’s hard to explain what this season has meant to me so far because it’s been one of the best times I’ve ever had on a court,” Goodman said. “I feel so lucky and special to be here. It’s far different than any other program I’ve been associated with. … It’s a value-based program that’s incredible and cares about me just as much off the court as it does on the court.”
When Goodman, a Parkite, transferred to Park City from Judge Memorial this season, she didn’t know what to expect.
On the court, she was entering the home of the Miners, a consistently strong program that won the 4A state championship two years ago and finished runner-up last season. Off the court, she was nervous whether she would be accepted by her new teammates after eight years of living in Park City and traveling 45 minutes to Salt Lake City for school.
Regardless of her reservations, Goodman is at the center of Park City’s success this year following its jump up to 5A. The Miners, who are co-region 8 champs with Salem Hills, are ranked No. 5 in the latest RPI with a 22-7 overall record and a 12-2 showing in region play, and Goodman has a lot to do with that.
As one of the starting middles on the team, Goodman has been essential to the success of Park City with 154 kills and a .401 hitting percentage. She also leads the Miners in sets played (71) and aces (46), while showing a propensity for playing back row with 102 digs on the season.
“I haven’t always been a middle, (I) was actually an outside until I reached 14s while at club when I began to play both positions,” Goodman said. “This past year I focused solely on middle due to injuries with my club team, but I also know how to pass so I feel as if being an outside is a role I can step into if needed. I love hitting middle, love the pace of it, but I also love passing so having the opportunity to play six rotations at middle is special and super fun for me.”
Last season at Judge Memorial, Goodman was the sole focus of the team and its opponents despite being a sophomore. Although she enjoyed the spotlight and got used to it, she was looking forward to coming to Park City because of the talent that would be surrounding her on the court.
She knew what to expect from the Park City program, having attended a few open gym sessions over the years, but her previous notions were far surpassed when she got to put on the red and black for the first time.
“I kind of knew what Park City was about, obviously they were successful, but I had no idea there was this level of dedication from everyone in the program,” Goodman said. “Our core values this season are grit, devotion and defiance because they are things we live by in more than just volleyball. It’s something that we only practice, but coach Matt preaches it, and it has been instrumental in our training and reflects by how devoted and dedicated we are to one another.”
Despite the on-court success, Goodman, who currently stands 6-foot-2, was far more concerned with the off-court success she would hope to have as a Miner. Always being the “tall girl,” she believed that the Miners would find success on the court, but it was off it where the concern laid.
The social aspect of being in high school and on the volleyball team were what led to her departure from Judge Memorial. She said the Salt Lake City Catholic school “wasn’t a super healthy environment for me so that was a big part of why I transferred.”
Goodman was nervous about meeting and getting along with her new teammates, especially since she was coming and taking over playing time from others.
Instead of malice, Goodman found love and support from her new teammates. Instead of just being “teammates” on the court, she found a family outside of it where the girls are in constant contact with each other.
“Honestly, I wasn’t that nervous for volleyball but rather, way more stressed out with everything I just went through and then school because junior year is the biggest year academically,” Goodman said. “The team has been amazing though, helping me find my classes since the first day and then making sure I’m never alone. They’ve been super welcoming and I’m super happy. … It’s truly more than I ever could’ve expected.”
Goodman’s success on and off the court is clearly translating to her next biggest obstacle in following high school; college. With multiple NCAA Division I offers already on the table, she is looking to find the best fit for her in volleyball and in education, a huge part of her life.
“I’ve been in strong contact with most of the Ivy League schools, and they’ve all implied that I will get offers once I take the ACT,” Goodman said. “But I’m still not necessarily set on anything. Education is what I’m putting first but I know I can also get that away from the Ivy League. At the end of the day though, it comes down to the best fit for more for school and sport.”
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