There’s no doubt that Webb City Cardinals senior volleyball standout libero Sophia Crane learned a great deal about this sport by simply observing older sister, Sage, perform at a high level during her own successful prep career.
“Watching Sage throughout my life has helped me grow into my position now,” Sophia assured. “Sage inspired me because she had great consistency. When I was a freshman and Sage was a senior, my goal after she left was to fill her shoes. I wanted to be the next libero at WCHS after my sister.
“I knew right when she was done being libero, I was going to work hard to get that position. Even now, when Sage comes to watch my games, she gives me tips and helps calm me down. Knowing she understands where I’m coming from on the court helps me work through tough situations.”
Interestingly, now Sophia is the older sister helping set a good example for her younger sibling, Savannah, and she insists that, “I love being on the court with my little sister. It’s so special having the opportunity to play with her.
“When we were little, I told her we might have a chance to play together my senior year. Now that it’s here, it is so surreal. It’s kind of cool passing the ball to Savannah now. We’re there for each other and work through things together.”
Webb City volleyball coach Rhonda Lawrence has enjoyed a front-row seat to view Sophia’s progress and believes all three of these super-skilled siblings have supported each other nicely.
“It’s been a privilege to watch Soph and her sisters play,” Coach Lawrence lauded. “Each of them is competitive and they’ve always worked hard to keep up with each other and then trying to outdo each other as well.
“Sage was a great libero for us, then Sophia took it up another notch,” Lawrence added. “Now, watching Soph and Savannah playing together, there is a definite connection between them. It adds to our chemistry, for sure.”
As Sophia considers her own stand-alone capabilities on the court more closely, she suggests that “Throughout my high school career, I have grown mentally. And being mentally tough is a big asset. My teammates and coaches have helped push me to where I can handle any stressful situation.
“I don’t like talking about myself, but I’ve heard that my dad, Stephen Crane, was a good athlete with speed and skills. I guess you can say God created me with some of my dad’s athletic ability and gifted me with the talent to play volleyball.”
Coach Lawrence maintains that “Sophia’s mental game has improved so much with becoming more confident and making decisions. She’s a very coachable kid and that has helped make her into a great player. Her volleyball IQ is outstanding.”
Even as her play has skyrocketed, including recently surpassing 1,000 career digs, Sophia knows she’s not perfect.
“Even though you’re supposed to be the best passer on the court, it’s okay to have an off day,” said Sophia, who was recently crowned Homecoming Queen. “Accepting that and re-setting is important. Focus on what you can control and don’t make it complex for yourself. Having that kind of mindset, while staying calm and allowing grace for your teammates will lead you to success.”
The way Coach Lawrence sees it “Soph is a perfectionist and wants to do things to the very best of her ability. Her natural ability to read or anticipate where the ball will be hit helps Soph get a head start on where she needs to be to make a play.”
While Coach Lawrence can’t help but rave about Sophia’s superb skillset, what impresses her most about this talented young lady is that “She is one of the most selfless and humble people I know, while always putting our team’s needs ahead of her own.”
It sure seems easy to see that whether Sophia is performing at a championship-caliber level for the volleyball team or in a classroom setting and concentrating on her studies, she’s an exemplary student-athlete and Coach Lawrence raves, “I’m just super proud of her because she has a huge heart for people.
“On and off the court, her example is a great inspiration to how far you can go by working hard, having selflessness and just being great in all areas of life.”
Sophia Crane Fast Facts
Grade in School: Senior
Parents: Stephen & Stephanie Crane
Siblings: Sisters, Sage Crane, 19 years old & a junior in college, and Savannah Crane, 15 years old & a sophomore in high school
Hometown: Webb City
Favorite Subject in School: English
Favorite Food: Chicken Alfredo
Favorite Volleyball Player: Recently graduated Texas Longhorns star Zoe Fleck
Favorite Sports Movie: Rocky
Awards: As a junior in 2022, was a 1st Team All-State, All-District and All-Conference honoree. In her sophomore year two years ago, achieved 1st Team All-District accolades, as well as 2nd Team All-State and All-Conference recognition.
Quotable: “I think my level of play has improved a ton and from my freshman year to varsity there’s a huge difference,” Sophia said. “The ball moves so much quicker, so you must be that much faster, read the ball that much quicker and be ahead of the game by a half second more. I started telling myself last year, my goal is to beat the ball. Anytime I’m on defense, I’m ready to go.”