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First-ever Alumni Volleyball Tournament is Friday

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By Gerard Flanagan

The first-ever Alumni Volleyball Tournament is at 6 p.m., this Friday, July 26, at the Roby Dome, and many former Marion County volleyball greats are eagerly awaiting another chance to take the court at the Roby Dome.

Head Volleyball Coach David Hibbard expects the tournament to be a smashing success, based on what he has seen so far.

“We have had overwhelming positive and energetic support for this tournament,” Hibbard said. “I was actually surprised at how many former players were thrilled to be doing this.”

The tournament will help celebrate the 20th season of volleyball at Marion County High School. Hibbard helped establish the volleyball program at Marion County in 2000, and he has been the head coach for its entire existence.

Ashley Williams Overberg, whose volleyball career at Marion County began in 2001, said she’s looking forward to making memories and reconnecting with people she hasn’t seen in many years since her volleyball days. Overberg also played college volleyball at Lindsey Wilson for two and a half years, and she also plays in a sand volleyball league in Louisville.

“I know that volleyball has grown so much since I’ve been there, so I’m excited to see what Hibbard has grown,” she said. “I’m just ready to reconnect with people that mean a lot to me. I think back on the team and what I’ve learned from that to apply that to my life today. I’m thankful for [Hibbard]. It’s been fabulous to come back and see everyone again.”

Overberg, who now lives in Louisville, spoke about the meaning of the 20th season of Marion County volleyball.

“It’s hard to believe. Hibbard has done a wonderful job growing the sport in a very small town,” she said.

According to Hibbard, 34 players on five teams will be taking part in the inaugural alumni tournament.

“Even though we only had five teams, I had a lot of former players tell me they couldn’t make it back or find enough for a team, so the support was actually very big,” Hibbard said.

Unfortunately, no players from the first-ever Marion County volleyball team will be playing in the alumni game.

Cost of admission is $6, and that will include a meal and a chance in a 50/50 drawing. Concessions will also be sold. The meal will include chili, salad, bananas, pudding and drinks.

The tournament will be a double-elimination tournament, and each team will be guaranteed two games. Games will be a best-of-three match. The first two sets will go to 25 points, and the third set, if necessary, will go to 15 points.

“It really didn’t take that much time and effort to organize because we are used to organizing regular volleyball tournaments,” Hibbard said, “and they are much more complicated than this. So, this was actually fun to organize.”

Mary Ann May, who played volleyball at Marion County from 2014-17, will be another former Lady Knight returning to the Roby Dome. May finished her Marion County career with 628 kills and 400 blocks, becoming the program’s all-time leader in both categories. May was also first on the team her senior season in kills with 243 and first in blocks with 142.

“It means so much, even more because I get to play with my teammates I played with my senior year, because that was such a special, special time for me,” she said. “I loved my whole volleyball career at Marion County, so it’s so exciting to be able to come back and play one more time.”

May also considers the 20th season of Marion County volleyball to be special, and said Coach Hibbard has done a great job building the program into what it is today.

“It definitely means so much, especially since Hibbard started it from the rock bottom, and he’s got it all the way to where it is now,” she said. “I’m honestly so proud of the program and so proud of Hibbard and every player that’s been through it, that we’ve made it all the way to 20 seasons.”