The Coosa Lady Eagles split a tri-match with Darlington and Rockmart at Coosa High School on Tuesday.
It was senior night for the Lady Eagles, as Coosa volleyball honored its four seniors: Sarah Arrant, Madison Hill, Kara Long and Makayla Nelson, who have won back-to-back-to-back state titles.
“I’ve seen these girls probably grow some of the most that I’ve seen of players, especially this season,” Lady Eagles head coach Carson Laye said in a phone interview. “There were some big shoes to fill. We lost seven seniors (last year), so these girls went from never having been the leaders to now they are the leaders and everyone’s looking at them. They’ve done a great job of stepping into that and leading the team with their attitude and their effort.”
The Lady Eagles were swept by Darlington 25-22, 25-20, respectively, but rebounded with a sweep of Rockmart by scores of 25-17 and 25-14.
“We are still working on ... how to limit runs after mistakes. We’re trying to still work on shaking off a mistake and getting back into the match or the point,” Laye said. “We have transitioned into having more of an attack. That was something where we were very defense heavy and now we have some hitters coming along. We’re adding that next layer of offense.”
Laye noted her senior setter Hill is actually new to her position this year, having never played the role previously.
“She stepped up and (has) done that for us this year,” Laye said. “She actually leads our area in assists and is second in the state for (Class) AA last time I checked.”
Resiliency was the first word Laye mentioned when asked what comes to mind about the 2020 Coosa volleyball team.
“This has been a very different and tough year, not just with, one, the transition but then, two, adding on COVID. We’ve had to make a lot of adjustments,” Laye said. “We’ve had people in and out throughout the season for various reasons, but the girls have never given up. They always have a positive attitude. They’re always ready to tackle whatever challenge (there) is that day. This season was not promised. We’re very lucky in that we’ve been able to field a team every week. I’ve just been really proud of the resiliency they’ve shown to just not give up and no matter what the situation is to just go out there and give it their best.”
Saying farewell to seniors is never an easy task, and for Laye, this was her first time as head coach saying goodbye to seniors she has known throughout her time with Coosa’s volleyball program.
“It’s bittersweet as a coach because you’re so happy and proud you get to honor them but you’re having to say goodbye,” Laye said. “However far you go, the end is approaching and so you’re having to say goodbye to these girls you’ve known for four years. Now you’re looking forward to what comes next for them and getting to hopefully watch and be a part of that journey for them as well.”