Reeltown volleyball said goodbye to no less than 11 seniors Wednesday.
The Rebels lost to Dadeville in straight sets in their area tournament at Beulah High School, ending their season and the careers of several players who have been with Reeltown since the program’s inception five years ago.
“This team had a lot of leadership, a lot of people that wanted to help take control, which was good,” Reeltown coach Kelli Hilyer said. “They were very aggressive. Looking back, I’m glad that some of the juniors wanted to step up and help out, take control. That’ll help for next year.”
Dadeville has had Reeltown’s number this season and that trend continued in the area tournament.
Between the regular season and tournaments, the Tigers posted a 5-0 record against the Rebels in 2021, although the final two regular season meetings went the maximum five sets to determine a winner.
As mentioned above, Dadeville swept Reeltown in Wednesday’s meeting. Junior setter Cameron Tubbs was named to the All-Area team for her efforts in the contest.
Brekia Riley has been an essential player for Reeltown and is among the departing seniors,
“I put her at the left or right front, all the way around, she’s very solid in that spot,” Hilyer said.
Out of the 11 seniors, there’s a subset that have been with the Reeltown volleyball program all five years of its existence.
Bella Studdard has started at setter the past five seasons, watching the Rebels’ volleyball program take shape in the meantime.
Debryia Hooks, Taylor Ward and Emma Lowe have all been playing under Hilyer in that same timeframe as well.
“It’s hard to single out one or two of them because they all contributed like they were supposed to,” Hilyer said about the seniors.
There will be a magnanimous number of shoes to fill for the Rebels in 2022.
Tubbs should be among the leaders for next year’s squad, returning as a surefire starter in Reeltown’s two-setter system.
Regardless, Hilyer said she’s saying goodbye to a group who laid the groundwork Wednesday.
“It’s sad, but this year we also added a third team,” Hilyer said. “I always tell the seniors, you paved the way for the future. So we are losing 11 or 12, but had to add a third team because they saw how much fun everyone was having. Hopefully we’ll keep moving in the right direction.”