Her volleyball career is just getting off the ground, but Greenup County’s Kymbria Williams has already established herself as a force in the 16th Region.
Williams felt “really surprised” to be selected Player of the Year for The Independent’s All-Area Team.
“I thought it would be like a senior thing,” she added.
This time, it’s a sophomore thing.
An athletic 6-footer, Williams provided excellent hitting and blocking for the fast-climbing Lady Musketeers program.
“She’s been awesome,” Greenup County coach Lyndsey Thacker said. “Beginning to end, Kymbria improved every single game, every practice.”
Led by a dominant Williams in the middle, Greenup County went 24-11 and won the 63rd District championship.
“We had a great season,” Williams said. “My team helped me through everything. The seniors were great, and we have an awesome coach.”
Actually, Thacker has had to play Williams out of position.
“Honestly, she’s a better outside hitter than middle, but because of defense we keep her inside,” Thacker said.
Williams, whose older brother Trey was a basketball star at Greenup County, didn’t get interested in volleyball until her eighth-grade year.
“Some of my friends told me I should play,” she said.
She earned All-Area honors as a freshman and showed tremendous growth in Thacker’s second year directing the program.
“Her hitting the first year was so predictable,” Thacker said. “Everything was right down the middle. We worked on her hitting to the corners, adding variety. She’s seeing the other side of the court now, finding where the holes are. She has a lot better feel for knowing whether to tip or hit the ball.”
Williams looks forward to making more progress in her first experience at the club level. She’s playing for the Shawnee Junior Volleyball Club.
“It’s really fun,” Williams said. “I feel like I can get a lot better.”
Russell’s Darrell Adkins, the All-Area Coach of the Year, feels like the sky is the limit for Greenup County’s dynamic hitter and blocker.
“She’s going to be really, really good,” said Adkins, whose team lost two of three meetings with the Lady Musketeers. “We’ve had some players come through the region that could hit ... Corie Rakes (Ashland), Lauren Gill (Russell), Madison Furman (Rowan County, and this one. Kymbria may be better than all of them if she keeps improving.”
Greenup County senior Casey Meenach joined Williams on the All-Area Team, chosen coaches.
Russell led with three selections — seniors Sydney Watkins, Madison Cole and Arden Gross — from a team that won 28 matches, including the region final against Rowan County in four games. Rowan County finished 32-6.
“We have played Rowan County five times in the (region) championship and beaten them five times,” Adkins said. “I can’t explain it. I really feel we played our best volleyball this season in the region tournament.”
Overall, Russell went 19-3 against region opponents.
“I thought we were really good at the net,” Adkins said. “Our serves were a weapon, not just a way to start the play, and I thought our passing was much better at the end than the beginning. Kelsie Hicks, another of the seniors, played really well at libero. We wouldn’t have won without her.”
Adkins has now guided the Lady Devils to six region titles.
“This one meant a lot,” he said. “There were not many good draws in the region tournament this year.”
Other teams with two All-Area picks included Rowan County (McKayla Ledford and Jessica Mullins); Ashland (Shannon and Abbey Card); Raceland (Bre Grubb and Abby Brogan); East Carter (Whitney Gollihue and Jordan Wiler); and Lewis County (Natalie Mineer and Dedrea Stone).
Fairview is represented by Sydney Shelton.
Hali Adams (Lawrence County); Shelby Adams (Rowan County); Kristen Bellomy (Lawrence County); Alex Billups (Rose Hill Christian); Casey Caudill (Lewis County); Megan Centers (West Carter); Taylor Conn (Rowan County); Nikki Gee (Fairview); Hannah Goebel (Ashland); Stephanie Gollihue (East Carter); Leigh Ann Grubb (Raceland); Ashley Hardin (Rose Hill Christian); Kelsie Hicks (Russell); Jessalyn Huff (Ashland); Madison Humphrey (Fairview); Emma Ison (Russell); Brooke Legge (Raceland); Tori Lyles (Lewis County); Bri Lindon (Morgan County); Kristen Miller (Greenup County); Kaitlyn Moore (Greenup County); Amber Reynolds (West Carter); Jessica Sutton (Ashland); Melissa Watts (Morgan County); Madison Wilburn (Raceland).