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Final ride for volleyball seniors 8/31/22

Final ride for volleyball seniors 

By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools 

 

There’s a unique bond between Alma’s nine senior volleyball players that will keep bond them together long after their final match. 

 

“Being able to create friendships that you know are going to last after high school, to know that you've had this one thing in common and you know you're not going to be able to get rid of it,” explains defensive specialist Laila Boyd. “Just being able to interact with other teams and you're teammates as well is important.”

 

"One of the biggest lessons I've learned is to take your time with everything," Jocelyn Harless said. "It (time) goes by in a blink. But don't get stressed out to where you're freaking out and not enjoying everything."

 

The Lady Airedales started to find their footing under the watchful eyes of former coach Kathy Jones. In the winter of 2019, Jones resigned and was replaced by Kimberly Weaver. 

 

Most seniors have had two coaches during their time, Assistant coach Charla Parrish was their coach from seventh through ninth grade. 

 

 "She and coach Parish have different teaching methods," senior Sarah Banks said. "I was with coach Parish for three years before that. Coach Weaver is really good at connecting with us and still helping us at getting better and not focusing so much on our mistakes."

 

"It's really just crazy to think about — this is our senior year," Nichols said. "It seems like only yesterday I was playing in the seventh grade as a libero. I never thought I would be able to make that much progress in my life.”

 

Through the ups and downs, the seniors have remained steadfast and close. 

 

"I feel like we're very, very close," outside hitter Jenna Williams said. "You learn how to work with everybody."

 

"It's definitely a really special year because you look back and think how far we've come, and how we now have the ability to win,” Rachel James said. “We're kind of at our top potential as an athlete"

 

"I think the bond between everyone is really good. There's not a single person that I don't like or feel like I belong with. We all hang out together.”

 

"I've enjoyed volleyball since I was 10," Emmy Scowden said. "All the girls are really supportive and it's nice to be part of a team."

 

Alma (3-3-1) opens 5A-West play on Sept. 6 against Harrison. The goal for 2022 is the same one the team has chased for over a decade — to earn a post-season berth. 

 

"It's my last chance to leave a legacy," Harless said. "Our sophomores this year are really strong, and we have a lot of depth when it comes to hitting. We're all fighting to see who is going to be the best, but we're all fighting as a team, too, because we know we can't be fighting with each other but for each other."

 

"The sophomores definitely bring a lot,” Williams said. “They're a lot more centered on the back row, and I feel like the older girls are good on the front row."

 

It’s been almost 10 years (2014) since the Lady Airedales last punched their ticket to the playoffs. 

 

"It would be really special," James said. "I honestly don't know the last time volleyball has gone to state," James said. "All of the hard work that we've put in would mean a lot."

 

A playoff run would be meaningful for other reasons, too. 

 

"Not just because it's my senior year, but also it would be nice to experience it with coach Weaver,” Nichols said. “Just to experience that as a group, would be amazing. Our first year was a toxic environment. After experiencing that first year, we've grown as a family and it's not toxic anymore."

 

"This coaching staff — this is my family outside of my family," Samantha Crook said. "I started volleyball in the seventh grade and I've stuck with it. I've played with most of these girls since seventh grade; I've grown up with them."

 

Emma Scowden’s twin sister, Maddie, is one of two senior managers for Weaver’s crew. 

 

"Our first year, coach ever Weaver wanted everyone to work with teamwork, managers included," Maddie Scowden said. "It's definitely taught me that everyone's included."

 

"There's always something going on," Emily Hatley said. "It's always nice to have a different group of friends I can go and talk to. I've learned a lot since being on the volleyball team. Even though I'm the manager, I get to experience the team atmosphere and the teamwork, and I get to go to all the games and root for the girls. It's always fun seeing them win or seeing them lose because they're always a team and they're always working together."

 

Hatley said she’s learned to become more of a leader by watching Weaver. 

 

"I have learned a lot of organization skills, for sure," Hatley said. "She's just a good role model. She's always very motivational. I've learned to be motivational.