CNHI News Service
Kymbria Williams’ first volleyball season at Raceland was nothing less than a smash hit.
Williams racked up 434 kills and also dominated defensively at the net, leading the Lady Rams to their first regional championship.
As a result, the 6-foot junior repeated as All-Area Player of the Year in voting by coaches. She won it the first time as a sophomore at Greenup County, then made a smooth transition to Raceland.
“I was thrilled because it was two years in a row,” said the dynamic middle hitter, who helped Raceland go 35-5 and set a region record for wins in a season.
Williams said her latest Player of the Year award belongs to the team and coach Jason Clark.
“Our team works hard,” Williams said. “I think it should go to the whole team, not an individual. I couldn’t have done it without my coach and teammates. They welcomed me here just wonderfully. I’m thankful.”
Likewise, Clark called it a joy to coach Williams.
“She’s a great kid,” Clark said. “Kymbria works hard and loves the game. She’s very unselfish. She loves helping people with their game, too.”
The Lady Rams’ highly enthusiastic coach described Williams’ athletic ability and desire to win as “phenomenal.”
“Obviously, she has a lot of God-given gifts,” he said. “The other thing is a passion for the game that you can’t teach. I think her hunger to reach goals sets her apart from other really talented players.”
Raceland’s Abby Brogan and Maddy Wilburn joined Williams on the All-Area team. Brogan, a senior outside hitter and team leader, had 284 kills this season.
According to Clark, Williams was mad that Brogan didn’t get the Player of the Year honor.
Asked about that, Williams flashed one of her smiles.
“Abby’s awesome,” she said. “She’s a great role model for our team, along with being a great player. She pulled us together when we were down. I couldn’t pick a better senior to play with.”
Raceland went 25-1 inside the region and swept through the 16th Region Tournament without dropping a game.
“They played awesome all year,” said Clark, the Kentucky Volleyball Coaches Association Coach of the Year for the 16th Region. “They really believed they were suppose to win every game.”
The Lady Rams’ season ended with a loss to Logan County in the opening round of the State Tournament.
“We had a tremendous group, fun to coach,” Clark said. “It was a magical season and i enjoyed every minute of it.”
At the same time, Clark, a past winner of All-Area Coach of the Year, said he was happy to see that honor go to Ashland’s Megan Moore this year.
Moore guided Ashland to a 26-13 record and runner-up finish at the regional tournament. The team went 17-3 in the region, with all three losses coming against Raceland.
Still, Moore was caught off guard by her selection as Coach of the Year.
“Absolutely, it’s nothing that I expected,” she said. “To have such a young team, it was a huge accomplishment to get to the region final.”
Ashland had several underclassmen in the starting lineup, which included only one senior — libero Hannah Goebel, an All-Area pick.
Moore, 26, is a former Ashland player who spent the last four years as an assistant and middle school coach.
“I’m very excited about our future,” she said.
Sophomore Shannon Card also represented Ashland on the All-Area team.
Greenup County tied Raceland with three selections — Sierra Linthicum, Katlin Moore and Cara Jorio.
Rowan County setter McKayla Ledford was chosen as the region’s top senior by the coaches’ association. The Lady Vikings also landed Faith Conn on the All-Area squad.
Other teams with two players included Lewis County (Dedrea Stone, Courtney Wright), Russell (Emma Ison, Cassie Fultz) and East Carter (Whitney Gollihue, Jordyn Wiler).
Also chosen were Fairview’s Sydney Shelton, West Carter’s Madison Beam and Lawrence County’s Kristen Bellomy.
ROCKY STANLEY can be reached at email@example.com or (606) 326-2671.