Columbus (Texas) outside hitter Ally Tribe. (Cody J. Brune/Small Town Preps)

Columbus, Texas, is a small town on the Colorado River just an hour and a half west of Houston, and it’s a sports-driven community. Like many rural Texas towns, Columbus loves football. But with the help of Ally Tribe, Columbus is roaring with excitement for volleyball.

“We nearly fill our stands,” Tribe said. “We have a lot of people who come and watch. Everyone’s kind of like, ‘Let’s go see what Columbus is about.’”

In the last week, the Columbus High School volleyball team won the Battle of the Brazos tournament, sweeping five opponents, including St. John’s in the title game, and it’s especially impressive considering the Cardinals were one of two Class 3A teams in the tournament. Tribe was named tournament MVP, amassing 88 kills over 16 sets. And during Tuesday’s match against Smithville, she picked up 17 more kills, earning JWS Player of the Week honors along the way.

“She will always lead our team with kills,” said Columbus coach Kayley Johns, whose team is 24-3 on the year. “She plays all the way around. We will set her in the back row. She led every game in kills, but she’s right up there with our libero in digs.”

So far this season, the 6-foot-1 junior outside hitter has recorded 366 kills with a .405 hitting percentage. She’s also racked up 169 digs, the second highest on the team, and 29 aces, just four shy of the team lead.

“They 100 percent know she’s the best player on the team,” Johns said. “They love it. When she gives them the credit, they’re giving it back to her. She’s a huge asset to us. Like I said, she’s so positive. She loves her teammates so much, it makes them love her even more.”

As a way to create team chemistry, the Cardinals have one pregame go-to — a motivational quote.

“I love them,” Tribe said. “Coach Johns is such a quote person. My mom is such a quote person. It definitely gets you motivated and pumped for a game.”

For Tribe, there’s one quote that’s always on her mind: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

She’s set several ambitious goals to complete. With 1,245 career kills, she hopes to get close to 2,000 by the end of this season. Not to mention, she’s chomping at the bit to get back to the state championship after losing in the semifinals last year. Perhaps the biggest of them all — she wants to play Division I volleyball, and with a community of 4,000 supporting her, it’s well within her grasp.

“Everybody has so much love for each other,” Tribe said.

Nika Anschuetz is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @nlanschuetz.