With little adjustment, Kasey Thacker ended up being just the right fit.
The middle hitter helped carry Coosa to its second straight state title in her junior season, commandeering the front assault and defense for the Lady Eagles and earning the Rome News-Tribune’s All-Area Volleyball Player of the Year.
“She definitely stepped into a big role for us this season,” Hann said. “Last year after losing Taylor she gave us a whole new dimension to our offense. She’s quick to the net, but more importantly she’s really smart. She doesn’t just have to get a nasty kill, but she’s smart on where she places the ball. We really relied on her and her ability to see the floor well.”
Thacker earned several honors this season including Georgia Volleyball Coaches Association Class A/AA Public Player of the Year, Area 6-A/AA Player of the Year and Coosa Player of the Year, while racking up 446 kills, 92 blocks, 71 aces, 279 digs and 33 assists.
An All-State selection each of her three years of in high school, Thacker became a solid presence in the Lady Eagles’ A/AA Public championship match — a four-set victory against Elite Scholar Academy in which she set the school record for most kills in a match with 23 — and their fifth straight area championship.
Hann said while Thacker is not a big vocal presence on the court, the way she plays helps guide their team.
“When we had a critical point on the line, she was the one to get the job done,” Hann said. “We trusted her to lead us in those moments. She’s kind of quiet on the floor, which isn’t a bad thing. She lets the game do the talking for her.”
In just a few short years the Coosa volleyball team has become synonymous with success in Northwest Georgia with a Lady Eagles’ player being named Player or Co-Player of the Year four out of the past five seasons.
The architect behind Coosa’s success, Hann is the 2018 RN-T All-Area Coach of the Year, an honor he’s received five seasons in a row, including 2014 when he was named Co-Coach of the Year. Hann was also named 2018 GVCA Class A/AA Coach of the Year.
Thacker is joined by four of her teammates on the All-Area First Team — Brinley Smith, Jordan Roberts, Debra Barker and Gracie Shumate. All of Coosa’s First-Team players also earned places on the Area 6-A/AA Team, with Smith, Roberts and Barker being named to the GVC Class A/AA Public All-State Team. Shumate earned honorable mention.
Smith recorded more than 1,000 assists for the second straight year, including 47 in the state title match. The junior finished with 21 blocks, 62 aces, 199 digs and 48 kills.
Roberts was second on the team in kills with 276 kills, and led the Lady Eagles in aces with 98, while adding 242 digs and 12 assists. Roberts was also named Coosa’s Offensive Player of the Year.
Barker, a senior libero who was named Coosa Defensive Player of the Year, racked up 478 digs and had 12 kills, 79 aces and 54 assists.
Shumate, a senior outside hitter, completed her final season at Coosa with 191 kills, 23 blocks, 73 aces, 133 digs and seven assists.
Other standouts on the First Team include Rome High’s Katie Beth Davis, who helped lead the Lady Wolves to second place in Area 7-5A and a first-round appearance in the state playoffs. She finished the season with 148 kills, 44 aces and 217 digs.
Pepperell’s Eva Ellenburg helped carry the Pepperell Lady Dragons to a second-place finish in the Area 6-A/AA tournament and a second-round appearance in the state playoffs. The sophomore, who was named to the GVCA Class A/AA Public First Team, had 81 aces, 180 kills and 22 assists for the Lady Dragons.
2018 ROME NEWS-TRIBUNE ALL-AREA VOLLEYBALL TEAM
Coach of the Year
Nic Hann, Coosa
Name School Grade
Maggie Bagwell Pepperell Sr.
Debra Barker Coosa Sr.
Katie Beth Davis Rome Sr.
Emily DeBerry Chattooga Jr.
Eva Ellenburg Pepperell Soph.
Emily Prewett Cedartown Sr.
Brooke Roberts Model Jr.
Jordan Roberts Coosa Jr.
Brinley Smith Coosa Jr.
Gracie Shumate Coosa Sr.
Kasey Thacker* Coosa Jr.
Olivia Vardy Rome Sr.
*Player of the Year
Name School Grade
Sarah Arrant Coosa Soph.
Ashley Bailey Coosa Jr.
Brette Bata Armuchee Jr.
Mattie Blaylock Pepperell Jr.
Kallan Carper Rome Sr.
Laura Kate Cole Model Soph.
Rachel Helmes Cedartown Jr.
Bridgette Jones Armuchee Sr.
Annie Morgan McGraw Chattooga Sr.
Jessica Neal Cedartown Jr.
Carol Saunders Rome Jr.
Caroline Young Rome Sr.
CEDARTOWN: Ava Allred, Rachel Helmes, Lindsey Lee; CHATTOOGA: Jameybeth Childers, Abby Groce; DARLINGTON: Lucy Bearden, Annabelle Braden, Alli Hagler; GSD: Zariah Clay; MODEL: Neely Brumlow, Maggie Jon White; ROCKMART: Megan Clanton, Landra Jones, LiDeah White, Kinsley Woolfork.