Coach Tanya Lybarger, right, and daughter Taylor Lybarger, in the new Hartselle High School Gym. | Clif Knight
Coach Tanya Lybarger, right, and daughter Taylor Lybarger, in the new Hartselle High School Gym. | Clif Knight

Archived Story

Dynamic duo

Published 10:51am Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mother-daughter combo boost for HHS volleyball

Even though her mother Tanya Lybarger is the coach, Taylor Lybarger isn’t looking for special treatment as a member of Hartselle High School’s varsity volleyball team.

“It can be a little difficult at times juggling the roles of player and daughter on and off the court,” Taylor said. “She probably sets the bar a little higher for me but I can’t let that get into my head. She tries hard to be fair to everyone and I know I have a role and a responsibility to play it to the best of my ability just like all the other girls.”

“Both of us love volleyball and I’m proud to have her on my team,” coach Lybarger pointed out. “She been a gym rat all of her life, tagging along behind at practices, matches and camps. The girls used to fuss about who was going to get to carry her around on their shoulders.”

“You might think that the subject of volleyball is off limits when we’re away from the gym,” Taylor said, “but that’s not the case. We talk about it after practices, matches and even off-season. We’ll express our opinions, even though the may differ, and offer ideas on what can be done to improve the team.”

Taylor’s participation in club ball has given her opportunities to learn from several different coaches, Coach Lybarger pointed out.

“She’s become a good student of the game and I’ve found that she can teach me some things about the game,” she said. “I have confidence in her leadership ability and I won’t hesitate to ask her to help a younger player that is struggling.”

“I shutter to think about the loss I’ll feel next year when I look out on the court and she’s not there,” Coach Lybarger added.

Taylor began playing volleyball competitively with the Rocket City Club as a sixth grader and continued to play for that team for five years. She played with the Hartselle Junior High School seventh grade team, served as a manager of the Hartselle High varsity team as an eighth grader and moved up to the varsity as a freshman.

She joined Smith Lake Juniors between her junior and senior years and plans to remain on the team after she completes her high school eligibility.

In looking ahead, she hopes to receive an athletic scholarship to a two-year or four-year college as a volleyball player. Academically, she is leaning toward a career in medicine.

Both mother and daughter agree that winning the Class 5A State Volleyball Championship in 2012 was a mountaintop experience in their athletic careers.

“As coach, it meant so much to see the players reap the reward for all of the hard work they did and the sacrifices they made,” coach Lybarger said. As Taylor’s mother, it was icing on the cake for us to be able to do it together.”

“It was an awesome experience, definitely the highlight of my volleyball career.” Taylor said. “The only thing I can think of that would be better is to go back and win it again.”

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