Republic volleyball recognized its two seniors in the final home match of the season Tuesday, honoring Eryn Russell and Amber McCoy before dropping their match to Willard 25-15, 25-22.
McCoy had 13 assists in her final appearance at home as a Lady Tiger, and Eryn Russell led the team in digs, as she has all year, with 15.
Russell has been a fixture with the Lady Tigers’ program, starting at libero since she was a sophomore. McCoy joined the varsity team this year for the first time. Coach Piper Wright says she’s glad to have both of them.
“Both of them are very even-keeled, calm, and collected,” Wright says. “I think that shows a lot of leadership and it shows a lot of maturity. There’s not a lot that rattles them, and it’s good to have that leadership on the floor.”
McCoy’s defense has been “amazing,” according to Wright, and “her setting is incredibly consistent. We’re running a 6-2 with her and Bella [Drennan], and for her to step in her after not playing with us, and run a 6-2 and be even with Bella on assists is amazing. She has a phenomenal attitude and works incredibly hard, and I am so glad she is part of our team this year.”
McCoy admits she was uncomfortable when she first joined the team, because she didn’t know her teammates very well.
“I really warmed up to them, and they were really welcoming to me. That was really nice. I appreciate Coach Wright, as well,” McCoy says. “I’m very glad I played. It’s my senior year, and I’ve played volleyball my entire life. It made my parents happy, and I really made a lot of good friends.”
Wright says it will be hard to see Russell go after having her on the team for so long.
“It’s so sad, but it’s so exciting, too, because I know she has some amazing things in store,” Wright says of Russell. “She’s also one of the hardest workers I know. She has an incredibly competitive mindset. She wants to win. You want the ball to come to her in a tight situation because she wants to make that play.”
Russell says relationships are what she’ll take most from her time as a volleyball player.
“Being with everybody, and them being so sweet; it makes me a better person,” Russell says. “It makes me more comfortable being around people and being a good teammate.
“[I’ll miss] everybody I’ve played with all my years, and my coach. My coach is the best. She made me better.”