The Lady Airedales held the final volleyball practices inside the Crabtree Gymnasium on Oct. 8.
For the seniors on the squad, they were happy to go back into the Charles B. Dyer Arena to finish out their season.
The Arena floor was damaged by water from a leaking pipe towards the end of the summer break.
While the repair crew was working to get the floor back in shape, the Lady Airedale volleyball held practices and games in Crabtree Gymnasium.
For senior Kailyn Tyler going back to the Arena, it was a welcome sight.
“At first I really didn’t care for being in Crabtree, but I got to a point I was looking forward to playing in there,” said Tyler. “The crowds and the fans seem bigger and louder and it made us want to do better and play the best we know we can do. It really felt like a lot of people in there.”
Tyler has been a starter for the Lady Airedales for three seasons and among the class of six seniors who have played for coach Karen Jones during her three years at the high school.
“She’s had a positive attitude since Day 1 and continues to have one,” said Jones. “She’s been our leader and is always encouraging her teammates, but she also holds them accountable.”
The team has struggled this season with just four wins. However, that hasn’t deterred Tyler’s attitude.
“I just want to see my team succeed and be a part of a program that is successful,” she said. “I want to do my part to help my teammates and be the most positive person out there.”
Jones said Tyler is indeed positive all the time and added, “her mom is very positive too.”
“I don’t think we know what we’re fully capable of,” said Tyler. “When we operate together and click just right, we can see the potential we have.”
Tyler is a strong outside hitter for Alma. She also has stepped it up as an offensive player and on the backcourt. At Siloam Springs on Oct. 8, Tyler had eight kills and 12 digs. The team won the first set but fell to the Lady Panthers 25-27, 25-10, 25-11, 25-16.
Bella Nutt had 10 digs and eight assists while Courtney Bates added 12 digs and nine assists.
Tyler was drawn to volleyball in the seventh grade after watching her sister, Bailey Tyler, play. “I always looked up to her,” the Alma senior said. “She played a lot of travel ball and she inspired me to play. She helped me tremendously.”
Jones has been with the Alma program for five years going back to when Tyler first started.
“Her skill level wasn’t great in the seventh grade, but by the time she was an eighth-grader and she had played some [travel] ball, she started to gain more and more confidence and became a better player all around. You could also see the other girls who played along with her get better as well.”
Tyler said, “volleyball has helped me in so many ways and it has taught me so many more things to help me not just be successful on the court, but in life as well.”
The season will be drawing to a close later this month. Win, lose or draw, Tyler continues to positive about the experience
“I’m really enjoying this season and I’m definitely going to make the most of it,” said Tyler. “It makes me realize how close we are to realize our potential and how hard we strive towards our goals. I wouldn’t want to miss any of this.”