The Sealy Lady Tiger volleyball squad took their home court last Friday morning, without fans in the stands, for its first preseason action of the season.
The tri-match scrimmage with Columbus and Lexington also served as the first competition against another school sanctioned by the University Interscholastic League since the basketball state championships were shut down in March.
Head volleyball coach Kim Boyd entered her fourth year at the helm of the program and has built a close relationship with this group of seniors after coaching them since their freshman year. A trio of senior leaders in Ally Dickens, Avery Oliver and Brylie Nedd said they’ll be looking to make the most out of what will be their final year in Tiger black and gold.
“It felt amazing, we’ve been waiting all summer to get out here,” Nedd said after the second scrimmage. “We were hungry.”
“It felt like Christmas Day when you can’t sleep the night before,” Oliver said.
“With all the shutdowns it felt really good to play someone other than our teammates,” Dickens said. “I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was today, I was expecting a lot more rust.”
Although Boyd said the first scrimmage started slowly, Sealy brought the energy in the second scrimmage against Lexington to end on a high note.
“Our girls are ready,” Boyd said at the end of the day. “With COVID-19, it’s kind of hit or miss because not everybody’s been able to play their usual amount leading up to a season, but they proved right off the bat that they’re ready to come out and play and show everybody.”
After heading to Wimberly for a quad-match scrimmage last Saturday morning, the Lady Tigers kicked off their regular season with a tri-match at home against Boling and West Columbia earlier this week to embark upon a season that still has plenty of question marks but nonetheless has started.
“We’re trying to make this year as fun as possible because we don’t know if we’ll even get fans or anything so it’s up to us to create the energy,” Nedd said. “We’re really trying to instill that on all the new teams where we’re our own number one fans.”
“You just really have to go out there and give it all you’ve got because you don’t know when the next shutdown is going to be,” Dickens said.
“One thing that you can always have is energy and I think we really brought that out today,” Oliver said, citing a much more enthused squad in the second scrimmage.
The seniors said they felt so good with their first scrimmages that they could have played even more that day but looked forward to putting on the real jerseys to start the season.
“This year is different than any other year since sophomore year but we’re ready after the first day of scrimmages,” Oliver said. “We’re usually doubtful (at the beginning) or the energy wasn’t there but today was definitely a game changer.”
“This is something we’ve been waiting for since we got on varsity,” Nedd said of their senior year.
“We want this team to be the most close-knit family team we’ve had,” Dickens said. “After today, I think we’re ready for tomorrow, we’re excited to get on the bus and go play some volleyball.”
Although the fan-less setting may not have been in their visions, Oliver said this has been a year that she’s thought about for a long time.
“I remember being the junior high kid sitting in the stands just dreaming about playing on the court and now it’s our senior year and we’re the leaders,” said Oliver.