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Giving Thanks For The Sport Of Volleyball

Happy Thanksgiving! It goes without saying that this year has been one for the history books, in more ways than one. From March to today, the volleyball community has met challenge after challenge. However, there is still much for which we can be thankful! 

So today, that’s what we’re doing! We asked for submissions from parents, players, coaches, and club directors as to why they are thankful for the sport of volleyball, and they did not disappoint! But before we share what our readers of the volleyball world are thankful for, we would like to say how thankful we are for each and every one of our readers, as well as the hundreds and hundreds of players, coaches, and club directors that assist us with our informational reporting. Without you, there is no PrepVolleyball.com, and we pledge to always do our best to shed a positive light on the sport and those who choose to devote their time to it. The PrepVolleyball.com staff wishes all of you a happy, healthy, and safe Thanksgiving!

Now, without further ado, let’s see why our readers are so thankful for the sport of volleyball!

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“As COVID hit all of the volleyball teams and organizations back in March of 2020, we were all left feeling shocked. For a while, it gave us time to spend with our families and some time to really think about the important things. As tournaments continued to be cancelled and our children were left wondering if they would even get a high school season, concern grew amongst us all. We were concerned about missing out on a high school season. We were concerned about their college opportunities. We were concerned about their emotional well-being, and the list continued. The girls just wanted to play volleyball and have some sort of normal.

It seemed a bit selfish at first because, after all, it’s just volleyball. But as we really started to look at the world and how our children were coping or not coping with the lack of sports, competition, and team bonding, I think we all realized that it wasn’t ‘just volleyball.’

MNDVB is so much more than a team sport. It’s family. We knew this team for 2020 was something special, and we also had a glimmer of hope that we could win a state championship. As the season started slowly in August of 2020, we hoped and prayed we could make it to Senior Day to at least honor our four-year program veterans. We moved our senior day up to September and were thankful that we got to celebrate our ten seniors. It was a lovely day, and we enjoyed it as much as we could, even while social distancing.

Within the next 24 hours, the MNDVB family would endure a significant amount of adversity. Our beloved Libero, Anna Currin, lost her brother, Michael. This was one of our own “family” members. The outpouring of the community and how the MNDVB family rallied around the Currin family was yet another reason to be thankful for a season that was not promised.

There were many obstacles in 2020, but there was a happy ending for this family. MNDVB brought home the 10th state volleyball title for MND while also earning the No. 1 ranking in the nation by MaxPreps. This was quite an achievement but what we are thankful for is so much more than that.

We are so very thankful for a season that taught our girls so much more than volleyball. This season and this family taught them how to think past just the game and the obstacles. They never gave up. They will have a bond for life with these girls, coaches, and FAMILIES of their own.”
~The MNDVB Family
Mount Notre Dame High (Cincinnati, Ohio)

An Emotional MND team celebrates their state title win

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“I’ve coached 13 year olds for about 20 years, at A5, MadFrog, and TAV – but six years ago I also started coaching girls 10-and-under. Aside from making me want to pull my hair out from time to time, those cutest-girls-ever have brought me more joy than I could have imagined possible. I’m so thankful I started coaching this age.”
~Bill Hoey
Youth Volleyball Coach, TAV

Coach Bill Hoey and his tiny TAV ballers

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“I’m blessed to be the head coach at my alma mater. It’s a small town located in south-central Missouri called El Dorado Springs. I played volleyball all through middle school and high school here and was blessed with the opportunity to come back home and coach eight years ago. We have a winning tradition here in El Do, and I’m super proud of each team’s success we’ve had over the years, while I was a player, a fan, and now a coach. This town has an enormous amount of pride, and we have so much support from our community. My girls become a part of my family, and we stay connected even after they graduate. I’m grateful for what this sport has done for my life and my family.”
~Ashley Rogers
Head Volleyball Coach
El Dorado Springs High (Missouri)

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“I’m a senior at Yorktown High School in Yorktown, Indiana. I also play for Munciana Volleyball Club. This season we were fortunate enough to have a season and have all of our dreams come true by winning a State Championship. I’m so thankful for all of my teammates, and all of the coaches who have sacrificed time from their families to be apart of my life. I’m also thankful to be apart of both programs.”
~Ellee Stinson
Yorktown High (Indiana)/Munciana Volleyball

Ellie Stinson and her Yorktown teammates celebrate their state championship

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“Volleyball is such an amazing sport that I am very thankful for. This sport has not only shaped me as the person I am today, but it has also given me numerous amount of unique travel opportunities all over the nation to compete among the best! I am so very thankful to God for creating these opportunities for me and to my parents to allow me to chase my goals and dreams!! Volleyball has also connected me to many amazing teammates and coaches who I love dearly and have made this experience so memorable. All I need in life to be in my happy place is volleyball and my Girls. I am ever so grateful to be able to play volleyball with my teammates, especially during these difficult times.”
~Allyson Anaya
Ridge Point High (Missouri City,Texas)/TAV Houston

Allyson Anaya and her Ridge Point teammates

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“I have been involved in sports most of my life. Growing up, I played several sports that were initiated by my father, who is a phenomenal basketball player. As my high school years were approaching, I knew playing in high school was going to be important. I played high school basketball and softball for my first two years. Volleyball was quite frankly introduced to me late in my years. I started playing my junior year of high school. I am so thankful for this sport and finally being able to get out of my comfort zone. Finally, able to find a sport where I can put all my athletic ability into a fantastic lifestyle for me. It was not until college that I began to formalized volleyball. This sport has changed me for the better. It introduced me to so many amazing individuals who have pushed me to be the best version of myself. I would have never thought I would have been in college for a sport that was introduced to me so late in life. But it was a sport made for me.”
~Leah Seickendick
College Player, NJCU (Jersey City, New Jersey)

Leah Seickendick attacking for NJCU

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“Volleyball is such a fun, exciting and amazing sport! I love teaching ladies to love the game, the value of dedication and hard work, the attention to detail, and helping them to succeed and overcome adversity both on and off the court! I feel very blessed to be a part of their lives, and volleyball creates avenues for me to do so.”
~Jamie Pennington
Head Volleyball Coach
East Robertson High (Cross Plains, Tennessee)
Ethos Volleyball Club

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“I’m thankful my daughter plays volleyball as it has opened her to an awesome sport full of so many life lessons, teammates that have become family and families that have become second families. Thankful for coaches who invest their time and energy in teaching young women that this sport is more than an athletic endeavor. It is hard work; it is effort, commitment, grit, celebration, disappointment, and awesome memories. I’m thankful my daughter’s team completed a full high school season and hoping the club season looks better than last year with cancelled events.”
~Melissa O’Neill
Volleyball Parent

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“I am most grateful for all the governing bodies I operate under for the opportunity to continue to coach, inspire, mentor, and teach. I am most grateful for all the administrators, faculty, staff, and peers I operate with that continue to coach me, inspire me, mentor me, and teach me. I am most grateful for all the parents who trust me to develop, educate, and guide their daughters and sons.I am most grateful for all the student-athletes who work to win the day with their attitude, desire, effort, grit, hustle, intention, love, passion, skill, sport-specific intelligence quotient, talent, and work ethic each and every day.

2020 has afforded me the unique opportunity to continue to give back, to experience and explore, to care and fulfill the ongoing cultivation of deep responsible connections despite the current concerns of our world (the presidential election, pandemic, human rights, health care, national security, immigration, economy, climate change, gun control, race relations, drug control, education, taxes, foreign policy, school safety, criminal justice, & social media).”
~Coach Olaso

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“I’m a volleyball mom of two. I miss the fellowship of the other families! I loved cheering on everybody and seeing how their girls improved. Hearing their stories, joys, and concerns made me thankful we had them in our lives! I MISS VOLLEYBALL!”
~Kelly Kelley
Volleyball Mom

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“The sport of volleyball has always been my companion and champion, ever since I was ten years old. This sport has provided a safe-haven for me to genuinely express myself, emotions, physicality, and intellect within the space and time I occupied. My love and passion for the sport of volleyball have been more than a means to my academic, athletic, and career aspirations, but an appreciation for traveling and competing in 15 states while building lasting life-long friendships with past, present, and future teammates; being exposed to many life learning experiences, such as leadership, and teamwork and sportsmanship that will forever be an influential force in my future life endeavors; My participation in the sport of volleyball over the years has helped foster my academic and career pursuits in the health and wellness profession.

I am thankful for how volleyball taught me the three most distinguishing and admirable qualities that an individual should embrace: willingness to learn, the commitment to success, and gratitude in acknowledging others. The sport of volleyball has helped create an opportunity for me to be part of something bigger than myself and see how working together helps everyone understand and appreciate each other. The sport that I love so much has taught me that I don’t have to measure myself by my achievements but by my endless potential. I was once told that thankfulness is the quickest path to joy. Thank you, volleyball, for being that pathway to the joy I have always loved and now appreciate.”
~Calyce Jones
Setter, Millikan High (Long Beach, California)
Norfolk State Commit

Calyce Jones signing her NLI for Norfolk State

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“I’m thankful for the opportunity to be able to play volleyball during these unknown times we are all experiencing! I am also thankful for being on a team that is challenging me and helping me grow into a better player and teammate!”
~Addison Chapman
Right-side hitter, Richmond Volleyball Club (Mechanicsville, Virginia)

Addison Chapman and her Richmond VBC Teammates

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“This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the platform that Dynasty volleyball has given me to create meaningful experiences that shape the strong female leaders of tomorrow. Coaching volleyball provides the opportunity to build grit, and install the values of hard work, effort, and selflessness. The pursuit of excellence on the volleyball court creates a pathway to success in life.”
~Bryon Larson
Director, Dynasty Volleyball Club

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“THANKFUL! Who would have thought that after the entire country getting shut down and school closures in March, that seven months later, the Brandon Lady Bulldogs would win the 6A South State Championship and have the opportunity to compete for another 6A State Championship? Through so much uncertainty and if a season would even happen, these young ladies showed up (when we were allowed) in separate groups due to group size restrictions to put in the work just in case we did get the opportunity to play. Finally, in August, we got to practice together for our first time as an entire team with hopes of a first game in the next two weeks. From August to October, I watched these young ladies genuinely love one another, sacrifice for each other, cry with each other, support each other, cheer for each other, encourage each other, accept each other, laugh with each other, and pray for each other. They were grateful for every day they were given the opportunity to practice or play together because they knew that at any time, it could be taken away by the pandemic. These young ladies are a TEAM in every aspect of the word. I am so thankful for their HEARTS and how they bought in from day one regardless of any promise of a season. Boy, I am so thankful and love ALL of them! Above all, thank you, Father, for all these undeserved blessings, especially your Son! At the end of the day, win or lose- To God be the Glory and Great is Thy Faithfulness!”
~Kelsa Walker
Head Volleyball Coach, Brandon High (Mississippi)

Coach Kelsa Walker and the statte champion Brandon Bulldogs

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“Volleyball has brought so much joy to me throughout the last thirty years. I fell in love with the sport in the 7th grade. I had no idea it would be such a big part of my life. The two things that I am most thankful for are the friendships it has given me and the experience I have been able to enjoy with my daughter. As a college athlete, I did not have time to join a sorority, but my teammates became my sisters that I still keep in touch with today. We are now enjoying seeing our children become college athletes. I also spend so much time with my Houston Skyline family. We enjoy road trips together during the season, but we also love celebrating weddings and the birth of new babies together. I will always be so thankful for the memories it has given me with my middle daughter. She started playing club volleyball at nine years old for the legendary Ping at TAV. I got to follow her journey, eventually coaching her at 13’s and then all four years of high school. There we got to win two SPC titles together, a memory I will share with her children. She was also blessed to be coached by Jen Woods and crew at Skyline, where she grew so much. She is now starting her college career at Liberty University, and her goal is to get her degree and start her own volleyball club. I would say she too is thankful for the sport.”
~Amanda Watts
Head Volleyball Coach, Episcopal High (Bellaire, Texas)

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