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Photo Courtesy of Faith Shields

FCHS’s Volleyball coaching staff.

Big Changes in Fluco Volleyball

October 19, 2022

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Like most fall sports at FCHS, the volleyball program has not had a normal season since the fall of 2019. Last year, the program suffered a two-week shut down because of COVID-19 exposures, and even then, players had to wear masks during play.

This season, COVID-19 is far less of a worry, but the program has still had significant upheaval to face as a total of three coaches–Coach Susan Shields, Coach Claiborne Hammond, and Coach Alyssa Robbins–all left the program before the season began.

Coach Christi Harlowe, Fluvanna’s Varsity Head Coach, had to be comfortable with making new changes and trusting her gut in bringing in new coaches. “There has not been a lot of changes to my staff for many years,” said Harlowe, “so losing three coaches all at the same time could have been devastating.” Eventually, Harlowe brought in Coach Emily Beasley and Coach Aime McCall to fill in the gaps. Coach Beasley became a wing man to Harlowe on the varsity staff, taking the role of Varsity Assistant Coach, whereas Coach McCall decided to return to her roots and lead the JV team as their head coach.

Before joining Fluvanna volleyball’s staff, Coach Beasley started coaching softball in 2015 for the Fluvanna Girls Softball League. She also coached middle school volleyball in Albemarle County. Beasley ascribes her love for coaching to her connection with kids. “The Lord blessed me with athletic ability and the capability to connect with children. What better way to put the two together than coaching?” she said. Harlowe has found Beasley to be a positive addition to the team. “I love Coach Beasley’s energy. She is so excited to be a part of the program. Nothing seems to phase her,” she said. Harlowe commends Beasley’s obvious love for the volleyball girls and adds that, “She holds people to high standards and her energy and belief in the girls, I think, makes them want to do better.”

Beasley’s vision for the Fluvanna program includes bringing in a new set of eyes and a new heart that the girls may have not seen before. “My absolute main goal for this year’s team is to help each player grow not only as volleyball players, but also into reputable young women.” She added that “Sports is so much more than trying to win a game.”

With Fluvanna Volleyball’s heartbreaking final game of the 2021 season, Beasley also claims one of her goals is to help push this team to make it further than they have before. “It’s about teamwork, communication, commitment, responsibility, and accountability,” she said.

As for McCall, she was on the coaching staff previously with Harlowe, so her return brought a lot of experience to the role of JV Head Coach. “Being able to bring Coach McCall back with all of her experience with Fluco Volleyball is a huge step towards providing consistency,” said Harlowe. McCall’s reason for leaving the staff is a prime example of needing to put your family first. “Coaching is extremely time-consuming and I needed that time to take care of my family,” McCall said. As a mother to four kids, all similar in age, she found that this year was the perfect time to get back in the gym because of her kids’ maturity and development as young teenagers.

McCall was a three-sport athlete in high school, but as all good things must come to an end, so did her athletic play. “I would have loved to play forever,” McCall said, “but that usually doesn’t happen, so coaching is the next best thing.” After a long break from coaching, McCall does not see many changes in her coaching ability and she still retains the same goals for the program. As for Harlowe, she has noticed a few minor changes. “I think she is more patient than when she first started coaching. However, her matter-of-fact communication style is something that still serves her.”

McCall’s passion is found in developing the youth and preparing them for the large expectation of being on the varsity team with Coach Harlowe. “I hope that I bring consistency to the program so that when a player makes varsity they already know what will be expected of them.”

As the Fluvanna Volleyball program enters their mid-way point, Coach McCall has coached the JV team to a winning season, and Coach Beasley has helped the varsity team in their undefeated record in the Jefferson District, and preparing for the Region 3-C playoffs.

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About the Contributor
Photo of Faith Shields
Faith Shields, Journalist

Faith is in 12th grade, this is her 2nd year in Journalism. She enjoys playing volleyball and spending time outside. A fun fact about her is that after...

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