The building blocks of LaFayette’s program recognized at senior night

Published 9:03 pm Thursday, September 21, 2023

Toniya Collier, Tylia Broughton, Kylie Morgan and Myasia Ellis have meant everything to LaFayette’s volleyball program. On Thursday night, each senior received their flowers before their last home match against Horseshoe Bend. 

For the past three seasons, Head Coach Chase Lewis has been working to build the program. Before this season, every match added another number to the loss column. 

This season, the Bulldogs have already won two games just seven games into the schedule. 

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The program is not completely done building, but it has its start. That foundation has been set by the group of seniors that were recognized on Thursday. 

“They’re the foundation of what I think the future of volleyball could be here,” Lewis said. “They have meant a lot. They lead the whole team.” 

The match did not go as the Bulldogs would have liked as Horseshoe Bend won in straight sets. It went 25-7, 25-10 and 25-7. The Generals are the reigning area champs, and Lewis sees them as a blueprint for where his team could be. 

“We see all these girls for Horseshoe Bend JV, that’s the vision I have for our program,” Lewis said.

This season’s seniors have done a good job of recruiting players, encouraging the JV squad, and creating interest for other students in the school. 

“I hear more and more girls come to this gym, and they’re talking about ‘coach I’m playing next year,’” Lewis said. “Because of them, especially Toniya who’s been doing this for the longest, they want to play next year. The seniors kind of laid down the foundation for that.” 

Of the four seniors, only Collier had played volleyball before this season. 

Collier has been a key contributor to the volleyball program since she was in sixth grade. Last season, Collier was awarded the Most Valuable Player award for both basketball and volleyball. 

“Everything,” Lewis said in reference to Collier’s impact on the team. “She’s constantly talking to these girls in a positive manner. She may be strong-willed with her voice and it may be intimidating, but she brings it from a good place. She talks to each one of them individually. She doesn’t let them get down on themselves.”

These four seniors will undoubtedly be missed within the program, but their impact should leave the volleyball with a positive mindset going forward. 

“It will be an absence, of course,” Lewis said. “Tylia, she’s an amazing, powerful server. Myasia does an amazing job upfront. Kylie can serve very well, she gets after it. Having those seniors with the skills they had, even in a short period of time, it’s set up the future for the program.” 

Each of the seniors has established big dreams for their future. Collier plans to continue playing volleyball in college, Ellis hopes to run track and play volleyball at the next level, Morgan plans to study mechatronics in college and Broughton intends to continue her education and get a degree in business and accounting.