Clark said winning a state championship — which Jacksonville also did in 2007 and 08 — is “something you keep with you for a long time,” but the way Jacksonville won this season makes it even more special.
Jacksonville dropped two sets to Guntersville in the state final before winning 18-25, 14-25, 25-18, 34-32, 15-12.
“I’ve been asked a lot of times what I said or what changed or what we did. I’ve thought about it a lot and it was a combination of things,” said Clark, who is the Calhoun County Class 4A-6A volleyball coach of the year. “It’s not something you see very often, and it’s a hard thing to do in sports. Coming from behind always makes things a little more special because that’s what you want your kids to do. You always talk about playing until the last point, and it was amazing to win it all that way.”
Senior Katie Neisler said the team was given DVDs with the state final on it, adding she’s watched the win over Guntersville at least half a dozen times.
Jacksonville returned all but one player from its 2012 state runner-up team, which set high expectations this season. But Clark said he didn’t know if his team was the best in the state at the beginning of the year.
“It’s kind of like the rankings in college football. It was a little too early to tell how good anybody was,” he said. “I think the battles throughout the season are what kept us in it right there at the end.”
Jacksonville was led by seven seniors — Courtney Bowden, Kristen Aguilar, Amber Quinn, Breanna Hosch, Halee Stallings, Ariel Diaz and Neisler — but also received big contribution from Blessing Dunn, Tamaria Mays and Ashley Clingan.
Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star.