‘Just for fun’: Sand Rock’s Foster earns All-Cherokee County Volleyball MVP

Sand Rock’s Jadyn Foster swings at a ball against Cherokee County during the Cherokee County Tournament at Gaylesville in September. Photo by Shannon Fagan.

By Shannon Fagan, WEIS Sports Director

Sand Rock senior Jadyn Foster calls volleyball her “fun” sport.

Best known for her softball abilities, Foster has also developed into a pretty talented outside hitter on the volleyball court as well.

This past season, she finished with 531 digs, 330 kills, 57 aces, 11 blocks and six assists in leading the Lady Wildcats to a 33-10 record, including another Cherokee County and area volleyball championship.

What makes Foster so special on the volleyball court is her instinctive ability and reaction time, Sand Rock coach Lisa Bates said.

“There’s not just one thing that stands out to you, but everybody you talk to is like ‘Man, that No. 50 can play,’” Bates said. “She’s just so crucial to us and will be super-hard to replace. A special athlete like her doesn’t come around a whole lot. She’s just a very solid player. She’s not the best jumper. She wasn’t getting up there and hitting as hard as she could every time. She was reacting to what she saw the last time. She’s very instinctive and just so natural at it.”

That natural ability led the Cherokee County volleyball coaches to recently select Foster as their All-Cherokee County Most Valuable Player.

“I wasn’t expecting to get all-county to be honest. It surprised me,” the humble Foster said. “But I worked hard at practice and worked hard in all my games. I gave it my all every game we played.

“I’m proud to be part of something like this. I’m blessed to have Coach Bates and Coach Johnny (Howell) as coaches because they’ve really helped me. They make us work hard, but they also make it fun. My teammates helped me also. They’re always working hard at practice, working hard in the weight room and encouraging everybody. We’re always pushing each other to get better, and we always have fun. That always helps.”

One example of Foster’s instinctive ability last season came in the Cherokee County Tournament at the end of September. She finished the tournament with 29 kills and 31 digs in helping the Lady Wildcats sweep their way to their 11th county tile and sixth in the past seven seasons.

“She’s just so smart as a player,” Bates said. “On back row she did amazing things for us. She could make plays that make you go ‘That was special.’ Her reaction time and her ability to get up balls, you just watch and shake your head. She’s just such a special athlete. She just helped us all around so much. She’s always an unselfish team player. She just wants to win. She’s a competitor, but she’s humble.

“I think she’s deserving of the all-county MVP. I’m excited for her.”

Not bad for someone who plays volleyball just for fun.

“I just saw the ball, and as soon as I saw it, I’d be going for it,” Foster said. “I don’t even realize what I’m doing sometimes.”

Bates joked Foster was just on loan to volleyball from softball, where she signed to play at Wallace State last month.

“She could’ve 100 percent focused on softball and been just fine, but this year she really turned it up in volleyball,” Bates said. “She’s been a great asset for us. I feel blessed to have been able to coach her. She’s just a fun one to have on your team because of how special she is.”

Joining Foster on the all-county team from Sand Rock is junior outside hitter Katelyn StClair, junior setter Rylin StClair, junior libero Chloe Stephens and senior middle hitter Jacey Stephens.

Katelyn StClair accumulated 495 kills, 335 digs, 61 aces, 35 blocks and five assists last season. Rylin StClair delivered 1,051 assists, 209 digs, 24 aces, 22 kills and 14 blocks. Chloe Stephens posted 752 digs, 62 aces, 39 assists and five kills. Jacey Stephens came away with 274 kills, 179 digs, 59 blocks, 36 aces and 12 assists.

Selected from Spring Garden (41-15) is sophomore outside hitter Ace Austin, junior middle hitter Chloe Rule and sophomore setter Avery Steward.

Austin collected 721 kills, 300 digs and 50 aces for the Lady Panthers last season. Rule managed 287 kills and 103 blocks. Steward finished with 1,282 assists.

Chosen from Cherokee County (30-26) is senior outside hitter Ella Garmany, freshman middle hitter Nevaeh Gaidurgis, freshman libero Ellisan Givens and freshman setter Macy Lea.

Garmany collected 456 kills, 353 digs, 86 aces, 61 blocks and 39 assists for the Lady Warriors last season. Gaidurgis came away with 333 kills, 90 digs, 50 blocks, 23 assists and 14 aces. Givens gained 569 digs, 53 aces, 36 assists and 19 kills. Lea finished the season with 981 assists, 202 digs, 40 aces, 35 kills and 16 blocks.

Cedar Bluff (17-22) has two selections in senior libero Mattie Payne and freshman setter Rylie Walker.
Payne posted 440 digs, 57 aces, 19 kills and six assists last season, while Walker accumulated
906 assists, 292 digs, 32 kills and 28 aces.

Representing Gaylesville is junior setter Emma Givens. She collected 83 assists, 60 aces, 15 kills, 13 digs and two blocks for the Lady Trojans last season.

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