Sonoraville head coach Trace Vaughn taught his daughter Kailey (Vaughn) Martin a lot of what she knows about the game of volleyball. On Thursday, Martin got a chance to show her father what she has learned over the years from him when her Adairsville Lady Tigers took on the Lady Phoenix in an area match, but when the final point was tallied, it was the father that showed he was a few more tricks up his sleeve.
Vaughn’s Lady Phoenix defeated Adairsville in two sets to open Area 5-AAA play with a big victory, and he was also able to keep bragging rights in the family. He said it was a little different looking at the other bench and seeing his daughter leading the opponent, but it was a great experience altogether.
“It was a thrill for me,” said Vaughn. “With us playing almost all the same nights as them, this is the first time I’ve gotten to see her coach at all, much less against us. It makes my heart warm to see her coaching, and I know they are struggling right now but I know she will get them turned around and having success soon. It was a family affair tonight for sure and a really neat experience. I really enjoyed it, and it made me proud to be her coach and her dad.”
Vaughn’s other daughter, Kristi, is an assistant for him at Sonoraville so she was also right in the middle of the action on Thursday. Martin, who is in her first season as head coach at Adairsville said she enjoyed the competition as well, and was proud of the way her team fought despite the loss.
“It was a hard-fought match, and it was a little weird for me being on the other side against my dad and against Sonoraville,” said Martin. “But I have found a home at Adairsville and am happy to be there. I saw a lot of good from our team, and a lot we can continue to improve on. As far as coaching against my dad, about everything I know I learned from him so it was weird trying to use what he taught me against him. I felt like I had inside knowledge, but he still got the better of it tonight.”
The Lady Phoenix (11-6, 1-0 in 5-AAA) broke open a close first set early with a big run that sent them to a 25-12 advantage to take control of the match. They then closed out the match with a 25-15 as Adairsville (2-10, 0-1 in 5-AAA) showed some toughness but was unable to sustain an extended threat against the host Sonoraville.
The two-set win over the Lady Tigers followed a win in the opening match of the night by the Lady Phoenix over Fannin County. They won the first set against the Lady Rebels 25-17 despite some poor serving at times, and they rallied from down 20-15 in the second set to pull out a 25-23 win and clinch the match.
“The whole evening we struggled with serving, and that was really the first time we’ve done that this year,” said Vaughn. “We seemed a little nervous for some reason. Maybe we were too pumped up and that threw us off somewhat. Whatever it was, the focus just wasn’t there at times. We were down in the second set to Fannin County and came back strong to finish the match. That was good to see having our backs up against the wall and fighting back. The girls definitely earned it tonight and put a lot of effort into getting that win. Fannin plays a different style that you don’t really see anywhere, and they are good at it. They always give us problems, but we were able to find a way to get the win.”
Leading the stats for Sonoraville on the night was Bree Steely with 21 assists, eight kills, two digs and two aces, Anissa Hales with 13 digs and five aces and Raleigh Hooper with nine assists, nine kills and four aces.
Also contributing to the wins were: Skylar Huskins with 11 kills, two digs and two aces, Hannah Wehunt with nine digs and four aces, Kinsey Wilson with 10 digs, Abby Chambers with eight kills, four aces and two digs, Annalies Carr with two blocks and one kill, Alexis Lincoln with two kills and Amber Sparkman with a solo block in her first varsity appearance.
Vaughn said he made sure his team knew going into Thursday’s area opener that this is where they need to turn things up a notch and focus on playing their best volleyball.
“We talked about that this week, that nothing before this really matters,” said Vaughn. “It was good to get our first area win under our belt. We know Calhoun is the defending area champion and is going to be tough once again, but we are going to do everything we can to compete and make it tough on them.
“We still need to work out some kinks and get some focus back. I hope we start to play better as a team and put together a nice run in the last few weeks of the season.”
Sonoraville is on the road on Tuesday for big tri-match at Calhoun against Murray County as well as area foe and rival Calhoun that starts at 5 p.m. They will host a tri-match on Thursday against Haralson County and Southeast Whitfield starting at 5 p.m.