The Eureka girls’ volleyball team has been one of the top stories in the area this fall with an outstanding record of 33-4 on the year. One of the main reasons for their success has been the play of their six seniors. Caroline Keithley is one of those seniors who have been a Wildcats leader both on the court and in the classroom.
Keithley led the team in assists with 516 and has a 5.16 assist per set average this year as the Eureka offense flows through her on the front line. She has also added 183 digs on the year to spearhead the Wildcats.
The Wildcats fell just short of their goal last year and Keithley was quick to point out that it was that loss in the post-season that helped motivate Eureka during their off-season workouts and during the season this fall.
“Everyone came in very motivated to win this year,” stated Keithley. “We have a lot of seniors which means a lot of leadership roles which everyone taps into. We also have a lot of juniors, especially our hitters, that have stepped up. Overall, it has been fun to get to know everyone and our chemistry off the court has come onto the court with us because everyone loves each other and that shows in our play.”
With six seniors on the squad, it is sometimes difficult to hear everyone’s voice as a leader. Keithley and her teammates have found a way to make their voices heard and it has paid off this season.
“I think that Juliette Myrick and myself since we are setters automatically have a leadership role as we always take the second ball,” said Keithley. “I feel like we have been able to control the front row and let everyone else know what to do and where to be. Our other senior leaders have done a good job of keeping everyone calm because we have had some big games and some big moments. We have all done a great job of making sure that everyone stays focused on our main goal, which is to win as many games as we can and to always play our best.”
Volleyball is a sport that is played year-round with the fall season for high school teams and then the spring club season. To be an outstanding player, you must love the game and Keithley gained her love for volleyball at a young age.
“I gained my love for the game from my mom,” said Keithley. “She was my first coach in CYC and that is when I started to like the game. My mom had played, and she got me into playing the sport, and then she suggested that I start trying out for club teams. As soon as I did that, I started to love the game. There is something about it that is fun because it is such a fast game. I credit my mom because she got me started.”
For those that do not know the game, her position as a setter is arguably one of the toughest spots to play as they handle the ball on every play. This is a challenge that Keithley has embraced.
“I have had some really good club coaches that have taught me a lot about setting techniques and what to do and where to be on the court,” stated Keithley. “I think that coach Jodie Fowler has done a very good job of helping me figure out where to set and what time to do it. Plus, she has helped me in seeing the other side of the net as at times it is hard to see where the block is coming from. Coach has helped me a lot in finding the right hitter to get the ball to.”
Being an elite volleyball player and an outstanding student in the classroom is very time-consuming, but Keithley knows the importance of handling both, especially during the spring travel season.
“It is a lot, but I feel like I can get it all done,” said Keithley. “At school, we have what is called AC Lab, which is like a study hall, so I take advantage of that because we have had a lot of games and practices, so that is super helpful. In club season, when we miss a lot of school, I just bring my homework with me and do it in the car because academics are very important.”
Keithley has an outstanding support system at home as her parents, especially her mom, make sure that she has everything that she needs to be successful.
“My family is a big part of keeping me focused on my success,” stated Keithley. “My mom and dad push me to do my best and they are big supporters. My mom and I go on every club trip together, which is kind of our thing and that is really fun. I also have two brothers who are very supportive of my volleyball career as well.”
Keithley has found her next home for next year as she will attend the University of Missouri – Kansas City and she is excited for the next steps in both her volleyball and athletic career.
We wish Caroline Keithley all of the best moving forward and congratulate her on being named our latest HSSC/Scoops with Danny Mac Student-Athlete of the Week.
Jim Powers has been covering prep sports in the St. Louis area for 15+ years and a part of the Missouri State High School Activities Association Championship Broadcasts for the past 11 years. Powers is also a part of the Fox 2 Verlo Mattress Prep Zone Friday nights at 10:10 during the football and basketball seasons. If you have a prep sports story, please contact Jim at email@example.com. Follow Jim at @hssportscaravan