Horseshoe Bend’s Reagan Taylor did it all.
Playing every position on the court for the Lady Generals during her junior year, Taylor led her team in any way she could.
Taylor turned offense into defense and defense into easy points for her team as she led her squad in kills per set, total blocks and aces per set and was second on the team in total aces and digs per set.
“Overall, I think I did OK this year,” Taylor said. “Coming back next year, the things that I know that I could have done better this year I will make sure I do them better next year. I am really hard on myself and I know the team feeds off my energy. I am always trying to get better at the positions I am put in.”
Taylor is a product of the Julie Turner pipeline, one that starts young and flows directly into high school. Taylor and her head coach have now been together for three years at the high school ranks, with Taylor being named to her second straight First Team All-Outlook squad, and Turner winning her fourth straight Coach of the Year title this year.
“I think this year stacked up really well against our other seasons,” Taylor said. “As a team, we got to know each other better this year and it helped us all play better together.
This year, Horseshoe Bend finished with a 23-7 regular season, an area title and went to the second round of regional play.
When you watch a Horseshoe bend volleyball game, it is clear Taylor is in control.
The Lady Generals team loves one another, and is constantly laughing and joking around before, during and after games. But when the time comes for it, Taylor turns the intensity up a notch.
For example, in the first round of the regional tournament, Horseshoe Bend drew Chickasaw. Horseshoe Bend easily took the first set, and when the second set started, it was Taylor’s turn to serve. As if she was done with her opponents already, she rattled off eight straight points for her team forcing a Chickasaw timeout.
Her run continued for another six straight points at the service line, before the Lady Generals eventually swept the match.
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In a much more difficult matchup with G.W. Long in the second round of regionals, again it was Taylor who at times shouldered almost the entire load for her team.
Against the Rebels, many of the points earned by Horseshoe Bend during the middle parts of the game were all aces by Taylor. She added aces in all three sets, and sacrificed life and limb, diving all over the court to keep her team in contention with the eventual 2A semi final placers.
Even with Taylor’s high level of skill, she still maintains a level head and team-first mentality.
After a midseason win over Reeltown, moving Horseshoe Bend to 8-2 on the year, Turner said that Taylor “played the best she had seen all season.”
Taylor led the team in kills with nine, helping Horseshoe Bend win its fourth straight at the time. When Turner approached Taylor to tell her how well she did, the junior had just two words to say.
“She just looked at me and said ‘Yes ma’am,’” Turner said after the game. “She understands her role and understands how I need her to do things.”
Taylor’s production this year shows that she is obviously ready to handle the load given to her, which should probably increase as she heads into her senior year.
Taylor’s 2.0 kills per set were best on the squad. Her 48 total blocks were almost double that of the next closest player. Her .9 digs per set average was just .1 behind the best on the team. Her 53 service aces were just two behind the team lead and her 121 kills were well over 20 above the rest of her squad.
“Reagan is one of those players who can play any position you put her in,” Turner said. “She is an all around player that can do anything she is asked. Whenever we get into a position where I need a server to serve to different positions, I can always look to Reagan. We are fortunate to have someone like her.”
Returning for her senior year, Taylor will be just one of two seniors left on Horseshoe Bend’s roster, joining Marli Price. If her production this year is any indication of things to come, expect an even bigger season next year from No. 5 in red and blue.