FAYETTEVILLE -- Fayetteville High School senior Sarah Grace Sherbert battled through medical adversity during the Lady Wolves’ volleyball season, and her efforts didn’t go unnoticed.
Sherbert, one of five Lady Wolves to make the Class 1A-3A All-Talladega County Team, earned small school Player of the Year honors, an achievement that came as a shock to the senior setter.
“I was very honored,” she said. “Going into this volleyball season, it was very difficult. I experienced early-on some very complicated health conditions that limited my ability to perform, and it was a very trying time overcoming them so I could enjoy my senior season and be able to compete to my fullest potential.
“Luckily, I had a great team and a great coach who worked with me and was very understanding through all of the doctor’s visits and rest I had to take.”
She added completing the season was a huge accomplishment. Sherbert found out she had orthostatic intolerance, an illness that affected her blood flow.
“Your blood pressure will bottom out and adrenaline shoots up,” she said. “Your heart rate will increase tremendously. It will jump up into like, the 140s or 150s, while you’re playing or even while you’re resting.”
Sherbert said the condition resulted in extreme fatigue and dehydration.
“Consuming the amount of water I had to intake and sodium I had to intake, oftentimes I would get really sick,” she said. “I would be just so drained and so tired that I couldn’t do anything outside of school and volleyball. I had to take a lot more breaks in practice and in games. It was hard to transition with the stamina of the game that I had built up over the years.”
The condition also created challenges for her at her position.
“Being a setter, your hands are above your head most of the time,” she said. “With orthostatic intolerance, because it’s blood flow, your extremities are extremely weak, so holding my hands above my head wasn’t good for me. I’d start to lose feeling in my hands throughout the game.”
The Lady Wolves (16-13) captured the 2A, Area 8 title before falling to Elberta in three sets at the 2A South Super Regional at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery.
“We had a great season with some of the best girls I’ve ever known,” Sherbert said.
Sherbert said she was fortunate she had an opportunity to finish her final season in the only sport she played at Fayetteville. She said it was sad seeing her friends who play spring sports not get to leave on their terms like she was able to do.
“My heart definitely went out to those seniors,” she said. “I’ve got tons of friends who were not able to complete their last season of these sports that they have given so much time and effort to. I definitely felt the pain along with them.
“Looking back on it, even though I had those challenges, I was so thankful the Lord provided me the opportunity to finish my season because I’ve decided (that) was it for me. I wanted to finish out strong, be able to look back on it and be proud and know that I gave it my best, we had a great season and a great time with great friends.”
Sherbert said Fayetteville head coach Andrea Pennington supported her while she pursued her goal of finishing out what would be her final volleyball season on the court.
“My coach was absolutely wonderful,” Sherbert said. “She was there for me every step of the way. She would hold timeouts for me so if I needed to have a timeout, she would call it. Her eyes were on me at all times. She also pulled up and trained a girl from our JV team to (sub) in for me anytime I needed her, which was so helpful. It made me be able to perform better.”
Pennington was named the small school County Coach of the Year.
The all-county team was selected by Talladega County coaches.
The following players also made the 1A-3A all-county squad:
Abby Reed, Fayetteville
Halie Jo DeLoach, Fayetteville
Gwendalyn McDonald, B.B. Comer
Heidei Sapp, B.B. Comer
Alisha Morris, TC Central
DeVona Gover, TC Central
Ashanti Vincent, Winterboro
Alesia Jaramillo, Alabama School for the Deaf
Mikala Porch, B.B. Comer
Ja’Miya Whitson, TC Central
MiYanna White, TC Central
Brianna Jackson, Winterboro
Allye Buttram, Fayetteville
Madilynn Albright, Fayetteville