SYLACAUGA -- Sylacauga High School senior volleyball standout Aaliyah Carter garnered the Class 4A-5A All-Talladega County Player of the Year award for the second consecutive season.
While Carter said she was shocked when she received the honor a year ago, it made her push harder to claim that crown a second time.
“Going into my senior season, I knew there was nothing else I wanted more,” she said. “That’s what I was looking forward to the whole year. It took awhile for it to (be announced), but when it finally came out, I was relieved … This year, because I knew what I was working toward, it was like a weight was lifted (off me).”
Carter said applying that sort of pressure to herself going into the season motivated her to do her best for her teammates.
“I probably put too much pressure on myself,” she said. “I had many people telling me that I was being a little too hard on myself, but I feel like I play better under pressure.
“So taking that into games, it was kind of like, ‘OK, you’ve got to show up and you’ve got to show out,’ because if you don’t, it can be taken right out of your hands.”
The Lady Aggies (22-15) repeated as 5A, Area 7 champs and advanced to the second round of the 5A South Super Regional Tournament at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, where they fell to St. James in three sets.
“We didn’t make it as far as we had hoped,” Carter said. “For us to get as far as we did, losing as many seniors as we did from the previous year, that was a pretty big accomplishment having so many new players.”
Sylacauga finished as runner-up to 4A Lincoln in the Talladega County Tournament.
“We were hoping for first, but our rivals, Lincoln, they ended up coming out on top,” Carter said. “I’m just as proud of those girls as I am of my girls.”
Carter said playing against Lincoln was a challenge Sylacauga welcomed each year.
“It’s actually really fun to play Lincoln because there’s so much competition there,” she said.
Lincoln head coach Patty Hansen earned big school Coach of the Year honors. The Lady Golden Bears (36-15) won the 4A, Area 7 title and placed eight players on the 4A-5A all-county team.
The following players also made the 4A-5A all-county squad, which was selected by county coaches:
Taylor Lett, Lincoln
Molly Poarch, Lincoln
Brittany Swain, Lincoln
Morgan Allison, Lincoln
Faith Richardson, Sylacauga
Lily Hughley, Sylacauga
Anna Grace Wykoff, Sylacauga
Haven Cunningham, Talladega
Alexis Miller, Talladega
Cheyenne Gaddis, Talladega
Autumn Chatman, Munford
Kirsten Rogers, Munford
Ke’Asia McKinney, Childersburg
Makalee Keith, Childersburg
McKynlee Young, Lincoln
Haylee Grace Mullinax, Lincoln
Bailey Gowers, Lincoln
Keishaunna Strown, Lincoln
Ryan Aderholt, Sylacauga
Makalei Dew, Sylacauga
Mackenzie Bowen, Sylacauga
Imani Booker, Talladega
Cayla Rowls, Talladega
Kennedi Kelly, Talladega
Lakenya Swain, Childersburg
Shakira Young, Childersburg
Mallory Moore, Munford
Mekiah Mosley, Munford