Friday, November 22, 2013
Wando High School volleyball coach Alexis Glover received a heartwarming surprise from her team Monday night at the Warriors' annual postseason awards banquet.
After Glover spent the evening praising her team, the players returned the favor, seizing the stage at Seacoast Church for a special presentation in honor of their hall-of-fame coach. Warriors seniors presented Glover with framed photos, a whistle with a hall-of-fame engraving, a video montage and her own banner to be hung in the Wando gym, which the players dubbed Glover Arena.
“She's like a second mom to so many of us,” senior Natalie Tucker said. “She pulls wins out of you that you don't think you're capable of and helps you believe more than you ever thought. She's amazing.”
As tears welled in Glover's eyes, Stall High School principal and former Wando administrator Kim Wilson capped the night as he called in more than 25 people through the back door, each with a rose in hand to present to Glover - their coach, player, teammate, friend and mother.
“I am floored,” Glover said. “I was totally caught off-guard. I'm just so honored that they would think so much of me to come back, take time away from their family to come here and come to this banquet. This is something that you can't even describe, just unfathomable.”
Glover began coaching in 1981 at Spartanburg High School, where she spent four seasons before returning to the Lowcountry to lead the Warriors. Over her career, she has amassed 792 wins while leading Wando to 16 region titles, six state finals and a state championship in 1993. She's the winningest volleyball coach in state history with a 75 percent winning percentage and, in June, became just the 17th woman to be inducted into the S.C. Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
“Usually in the Hall of Fame, you have to be either dead or retired,” Glover said. “So when I got that letter, I couldn't believe they were inducting me. The ultimate respect is being put in the Hall of Fame because it kind of gives you validity. Here you have your peers who say, 'Yes, you're good. You deserve it. You've worked hard for it.' And that means a lot.”
Monday was a night to reflect on past accomplishments, but Glover admitted she couldn't help herself and was already planning and scheming for next season. She says her passion for coaching was reignited as strong as it has ever been after her team's magical 2013 season that included 48 wins and a Lower State Championship. The coach who inspired so many says she has always drawn her inspiration from her players to continue to get better and she doesn't have any immediate plans of slowing down.
“It's because of the kids that I wake up every morning with such a passion,” Glover said. “Every time I think it could be my last year, I look down the line and I'll see a kid coming up who looks like she has good potential and I tell myself 'I can't give it up yet. I've got to make that kid an all-star. I've got to make that kid an all-state player.' And I love that. I love the game and I love my players.
“We're going to win a state championship next season. We came so close this year and we're going to win it next year.”
Several Warriors garnered postseason awards and mentions Monday for their outstanding play throughout the regular season, tournaments and playoffs this season.
Setter Natalie Tucker was named both Class 4A and Region VII Player of the Year, as well as an S.C. Coaches Association for Women's Sports North-South All-Star along with teammate Britney Vallez. Tucker and Vallez were also both SCCAWS All-State selections. Tucker ranked No. 6 in the state in assists per set (8.0), while Vallez ranked No. 29 in digs per set (3.3).
Middle hitter Elisa Aldrich and defensive specialist Megan Morris were both named to the All-Region VII team. Aldrich finished the season ranked No. 3 in the state in blocks per set (1.4), No. 5 in hitting percentage (.413) and was selected to October's Wando Invitational All-Tournament team. Morris ranked No. 9 in the state in digs per set (4.3) and was named to the Tournament of Champions All-Tournament team in September.
Middle blocker Samantha DeJong was an All-Tournament selection at the Carolina Forest Invitational (Lugoff Elgin) in August and finished the season No. 9 in the state in blocks (1.0) and No. 19 in hitting percentage (.291).
“I love all my kids. They're the reason we're so successful,” Glover said. “It's just been one of those magical seasons. I'll always remember these kids who played and always remember the games we played.” -