The term student-athlete was created for a reason as students wishing to participate in athletics need to maintain a certain grade-level in order to be eligible for competition.
Kim Boyd’s 2018 volleyball squad did more than just maintain that grade-point-average; they excelled through the mark … all of them.
Every member on the varsity roster was a part of the Academic All-District team announced last week following the conclusion of the season.
Boyd mentioned before the season even started that the books were going to be a crucial part of playing time, saying, “Not doing well in the classroom won’t be doing much for us on the court.”
But that was clearly no issue for this Sealy team, registering high academic success across the board.
“It’s not something that many coaches can say happen,” Boyd said, having coached a couple teams that were one or two players shy from accomplishing this feat before.
But this squad was different than those ones and knocked down that achievement with a pair of first and second teamers on top of three honorable mentions as well as one of the top superlatives in the process.
Freshman Breanna Brandes was voted the best setter of the year and was the only freshman in the upper-tier category of overall, offensive and defensive most valuable players.
Coach Boyd mentioned Brandes’ stats spoke for themselves all year long and when she finally included Brandes only being a freshman, “Jaws dropped all around the room.”
Boyd added that her playing year-round only heightens her game; “We saw her grow so much this season alone,” Coach said. “And I think she’s already grown in height since the season ended too.”
Another pair of players with no vertical challenges is the two first-team members from the Lady Tigers in Brylie Nedd and Ally Dickens.
The two were formidable forces all year long and both have two more years in the black and gold.
“The stats proved they deserved it,” their coach noted simply.
Nedd led the team in scoring and Dickens was a key cog in the rotation that was able to make adjustments and fit anywhere she was needed.
Another couple of players who logged meaningful sets were two in their last season at the school in Diari Dabney and Faith Haugen.
“Dabney fought hard all year long and was a big vocal leader for us,” Boyd said. “We couldn’t have done it this year without her.”
Coach added Haugen was another big leader for the team despite being a little quieter.
“She outworked everyone every day and although she was a quiet leader, she showed how to work each day.”
Boyd added it will be a struggle to go on without those seniors as well as classmates Kendall Dornak and Makaylah Scott, who both earned honorable mentions alongside junior Reagan Newsome.
Despite missing the latter part of the season with a re-torn ACL, Scott remained a leader on the bench and Coach Boyd mentioned she was the go-to person to get the team out of a funk.
“We saw a lot of promise in her and her stats were well above others despite missing time,” she said. “The amount of work she put in for us after the injury is irreplaceable … she was one of our go-to kids we go to in a slump to change the energy.”
Next year’s volleyball squad will surely look different, but not all that much with a solid junior-varsity squad being molded into varsity players to fill the spots vacated by those who had the audacity to earn their diplomas and leave high school.
“We’re really blessed to have young talent, they’re all real coachable and very eager to pick up where they left off and shock some teams they lost to last year,” Boyd finished.