“They will be missed,” said Coach Carrie Hutchens. “I have a heavy heart for them.”
Those were the sentiment of Hutchens after Surry Central’s Senior Night. This is just her second year coaching at the high school level, but Hutchens said she knows this group will be one that sticks with her for a long time.
Looking down the roster, she started with #3, Cassidy Joyner.
“Cassidy is an all-around athlete,” said Hutchens. “She is a very versatile player; put her in any situation and she will excel.”
“She has a good head on her shoulders,” the coach said. As a senior, she has taken on a leadership role and always supports her team.
Brooke Lewis (#4): “She sees the court well. She is also athletic. She has good passing and serving skills. … She is a motivator, cheering her teammates on.”
Holly Mason (#5): “Holly is very court-smart. She sees the court, knows where to hit the ball. She’s good at serving, setting and she is an awesome defensive specialist. … She’s not afraid to go for the ball.”
Kaitlin Kidd (#7): “She’s got a lot of talent, she’s energetic. She’s a mender, she tries to fix things on the floor.” After working as a right-side hitter primarily last season, Kidd moved to setter this year. “She has a lot of responsibilities on her shoulders. … She changes up her sets and knows what her team needs from her.”
Tori Blevins (#15): “Tori is a really good kid. She is solid. … She will do anything to please her coach and her team.” While Blevins has struggled over the season with back pain, Hutchens said the senior gives everything she can.
Kendra Johnson (#17): “She is my go-to girl. I don’t have to worry about anything on the court. She will take care of things.” Johnson makes sure her teammates are in the right position and know their roles.
The libero already was a leader by example last year, but as a senior “she’s really stepped it up, started talking more and taking charge. She is all over the court. Her serves are great.” She said Kendra has “pretty hands” and could be a setter if not on the back line.
“She is very coachable,” Hutchens said. “She’s the rock of the team.” If the block isn’t there, she’s the one diving to the floor to try to cover up for the mistake.
Johnson is the player most praised by opposing coaches in postgame interviews. She likely is in the running for player of the year.
Kendra is the best libero in the conference, said Hutchens.
Joyner has been a member of the varsity squad all four years. As a sophomore and junior she earned all-conference honors and honorable mention as a freshman.
“The best part about being on this team is feeling like you’re part of a family,” said Blevins.
Johnson said the best part is “how close we are, and best memories would probably be all the senior sleepovers at Kaitlin’s house.”
“The best thing … are the relationships you build and the memories you make that you will never forget,” said Mason.
As for the close loss to North Surry on Senior Night, Blevins said, “I feel like we played to our full potential (Thursday) night and really gave it our all. I couldn’t be more proud of the team.”
“We played hard, even though it was a tough loss,” said Johnson. “We fought really hard, and I’m so proud of the whole team!”
“We said before the game it was our night to shine, and that’s exactly what we did,” said Joyner. “Even though we didn’t come out on top, we gave it our all and left it all on the court, and that’s all you can ask for.”
Could losing a match actually help the team?
“That game changed everything,” said Joyner. “It brought us closer as a team and proved that we are capable of anything when we put all of our talent together.”
“I believe we will move forward stronger than ever,” echoed Mason.