Club Features

NIT Day 1: KIVA Tragedy and KC Triumphs

What was meant to be an exciting, competitive, and fun weekend of volleyball celebrating some of the best junior’s teams and athletes under one roof at the Triple Crown National Invitational Tournament (NIT) became solemn when the volleyball community learned about the passing of four of our own.

Lesley and Rhyan Prather and Carrie and Kacey McCaw were driving to Kansas City when, outside of St. Louis, a pickup truck crossed a median and struck the minivan carrying the four ladies. The two mothers, Lesley Prather and Carrie McCaw, died at the scene and the two 12-year-old girls, Rhyan Prather and Kacey McCaw later died at the hospital.

Lesley Prather and Carrie McCaw were deeply entrenched in the KIVA and Louisville volleyball communities and coached the 10-and-under team at KIVA. Their two young daughters played on the 12s team who has continued their lost teammates’ fight on the court in Kansas City.

This is the statement KIVA released:

Our hearts are heavy with the loss of four beautiful souls in Carrie and Kasey McCaw and Lesley and Rhyan Prather. Our KIVA family will never be the same and we send prayers and love to all of the families touched by this tragedy.
Our families have done well handling this horrible tragedy, however we are all anxious to get home to our families to participate in the grieving and celebration of lives with the McCaw and Prather families. 

In the wake of the Kobe Bryant helicopter tragedy, these two mothers were doing the same thing as the basketball superstar – taking their daughters to a game. It’s unimaginable what their family members and KIVA volleyball family is going through and on behalf of, our hearts go out to those affected by this tragedy.

Several teams in attendance at the NIT have shown their support for KIVA with the girls’ numbers written on their hands or shoes, red ribbons, and a gym-wide moment of silence. What do you say to your team, your daughters, your friends who have lost a teammate or coach? What should be a showing of intense rivalry and fierce competition has turned into a heartbreak situation to give us added perspective of what’s truly important – have fun, be kind, and hold your loved ones close. Everything else – everything I’m about to say below – seems like bonus material in the grand scheme of things.

EXCEL 13 Blue honoring the players lost


In the events of Saturday, it was a challenge to know where to go first. The 18s and 16s played in the morning and 17s and 15s later in the day with the power pools alternating age divisions on the same courts and the rest of the pools filling the entire convention center. Instead of giving a play-by-play of the events on the first day, we’ve come up with 10 things that caught our eye on Day 1 at the NIT.

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    February 16, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    Statement on Pool D is incorrect. Ku’ikahi went 3-0 day 1 and still undefeated through day 2. Sleeper team that no one is paying any attention to or giving any sort of respect.

  2. Avatar


    February 17, 2020 at 6:20 am

    Right!! Our Hawai’i teams get no respect!

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