Anson volleyball players Lauren Dutton, Cydney Livingston, Taylor Austin and Kaeley Whitlock played Junior Olympics Volleyball for Stanly Extreme 18U, a Stanly County Volleyball Club Team, and won gold in a recent tournament.
Coach Barrett Eatman said that the team just finished up the season with a winning record. The season consisted of regional and national tournaments.
“On numerous occasions, the team overcame extremely large point deficits to win games,” Eatman said. “We believed in ourselves, and as a coach I never gave up on my players.”
Eatman said that, in short, he thinks the players learned to believe in themselves more.
Dutton, Livingston, Austin and Whitlock all played for Anson High School. Dutton, Livingston and Austin are seniors, while Whitlock is a sophomore.
“All of them brought versatility with them,” Eatman said. “I could play them in multiple positions throughout the season.”
The team consisted of 11 players from six local high schools. The regional tournaments were played in various locations in North Carolina. These tournaments had between eight and 12 teams playing at them.
The team played at Charlotte and Myrtle Beach in national tournaments. The total number of teams at the national tournaments were more than 300 teams each. Practices began in November and ended the first week of April. Tournaments were played January through April.
“A couple years ago, after watching the AHS volleyball team play, I spoke with the coach, Celeste Dutton, and gave her information on our club, and she relayed it her players,” Eatman said. “I coached the three seniors last year with several of the same other players.”
Whitlock was an addition this year to the team.
“All the players bonded well and have become good friends,” Eatman said.
Eatman said that all coaches like a winning season where they win more than they lose.
“However, I concentrate a lot on teaching my players life lessons that will serve them a lifetime,” he said. “Volleyball is a vessel for the teaching process.”
Eatman said the team practiced a lot, worked on their weaknesses and adjusted lineups to best fit the team.
Since 10 of the 11 players are seniors, they are finished with Junior Olympic Volleyball.
The seniors plan to attend college, while two have verbally committed to play volleyball in college.
Some of the players plan to play sand volleyball this spring, and some hope to play recreational volleyball in college.
Eatman is a former student of Anson County and graduated from Bowman Senior High School. He also graduated with two of the parents of the AHS players.
“I have enjoyed coaching volleyball for the past 11 years,” he said. “My biggest prayer has been that I will have a positive impact on my players and that they will see Jesus in the way I act.”