Avery Herring and Emma Pelfrey have been best friends for as long as they can remember.
Throughout their high school career, they have shared time playing on the Lady TIgers volleyball team together, being a part of the program for every year since it’s conception, other than their eighth grade year.
On Thursday, Sept. 16, they celebrated a 3-0 win against Pickens County High School on their senior night.
“It’s been an amazing experience,” Herring said. “I’ve loved every minute of it. It’s been good to see the program grow over the years, too.”
Lady Tigers head coach Tanya Porter said she had been counting down the days to celebrate Herring and Pelfrey.
“They’re really good girls,” Porter said. “I’ve looked forward to the time that they were seniors because of their leadership hearts. They want to help the team become better. They want to foster a good team under a good climate when they leave.”
After only winning eight games their junior season, the Lady Tigers are 15-7 and sit in second place in their region two-thirds of the way through. Pelfrey said she credits the overall team chemistry to the success on the court.
“If one of us messes up, we have the whole time to support us wherever we go,” Pelfrey said. “It hasn’t always been like that. Even if we lose, we can still pick each other up, bounce back and win the next one. It’s just nice that we’re better with each other.”
Throughout her high school career, Pelfrey said she will remember the funny moments, like pelting Herring in the face somehow every season. Herring agreed and added that she loved being a part of an ever-evolving program.
“It’s pretty great,” Herring said. “We like seeing all the accomplishments we’ve already had. Just working together and having someone for every spot.”
Both Herring Pelfrey said they enjoy being in a vocal leadership role and Porter agreed, saying she is not even sure if the girls realize how big of an impact they have had on the team this season.
“I hope they recognize their contributions aren’t always measurable in the scorebook but are so important for our team dynamic,” Porter said. “It’s not an easy position, either, but they've done beautifully at it. I hope what they’ve started this year will carry on and will become the new climate that we’ve struggled to carry on in this program. I hope it’s not a hole they leave but just a pair of shoes for someone to fill in.”
Heading towards the end of their four years on the volleyball team, Pelfrey said that Porter and assistant coach Kristi Creegan have taught her and her teammates to always be strong, independent women and to never be embarrassed to be yourself.
Herring added how important the confidence the coaching staff has instilled in her personally. When asked what she wishes she could tell a high school freshman, Herring said she would tell them to stay level-minded.
“Try and stay out of your head,” Herring said. “There’s more plays coming and you’ve got to focus on how it’s going to go. Believe in yourself. If you don’t, nobody really can.”
How do the girls want to cap off their senior season? Easy; the program’s first region championship.
The Lady Tigers return to their Region 7-3A schedule on Tuesday, Sept. 21 against West Hall. The game starts at 6 p.m.