MIDDLEBURG - Middleburg High volleyball has been a staple of playoffs for nearly 40 years under the tutelage of coach Carrie Prewitt and within those 40; specifically 37 years, Prewitt has achieved a …
MIDDLEBURG - Middleburg High volleyball has been a staple of playoffs for nearly 40 years under the tutelage of coach Carrie Prewitt and within those 40; specifically 37 years, Prewitt has achieved a milestone 600th win with a 3-0 victory Thursday against Episopal.
“I did not even know I was that close until the morning of the Episcopal game,” said Prewitt. “Too many losses though. I didn’t keep track of wins and certainly don’t keep track of losses. I don’t have a best one; just the one that you just had. The last win is always the best one.”
Ironically, Prewitt did not know of the total just two days prior when her Broncos were taking on number one ranked nationally Ponte Vedra High which wound up a tough 3-0 loss.
“I don’t think it would have made much of a difference against Ponte Vedra,” said Prewitt. “We played tough in that one, but they were just that good.”
In her tenure, the Lady Broncos have had their glimpses of greatness with a slew of Final Fours and state championships berths, but the one that Prewitt would like back is her championship run in 2004 and that championship game against Gainesville.
“We had kids in the hospital getting IVs from food poisoning,” said Prewitt. “Stephanie Bradley told a nurse to take out the IV because she had a state final to play in. We ate a healthy meal somewhere and everyone got sick and we had the state championship game two days later. They were warriors in the game though. It was sad because those girls lost to Gainesville the previous year and I thought we had the better team.”
That being said, Prewitt noted that the wins and losses are not the top priority in keeping her on the sidelines, but more the coaching relationships.
“There really is no win that is the highlight, but more just the opportunity to be a part of a kids that have a dream and are willing to work hard for it,” said Prewitt, who thought she had 80 or so college athletes that have come through the program. “Jenny Manns in the 1990s was the most dominant player of her time and played college and international ball. She was an All American at the University of Florida. That 1996 team was ranked first in state, but we lost in regions.”
Prewitt recalled some past players including Becca Alford, sprawling all out across the court to set Mann up for scoring kills; Courtney Veasey, an All American libero at Florida Southern, who had so much explosive energy that infused the team; Jessica Burkhart who, at times, was carried off the court for expending so much energy and Jenna Erwin knocking over chairs and making the dig then getting back on the court.
Though Middleburg has had their deep playoff runs in the past with two state title runnerup finishes and four Final Fours, Prewitt is unphased about the elusive state title.
“It’s more about the journey then the wins and losses,” said Prewitt, 60. “It’s about wanting the kids to experience the state championship tournament.”
Prewitt has tapped a few names over her years for advice and strategy with Jill Stephens, a coach at Florida Southern, and Florida legendary coach Mary Wise on top of the list.
“Emotional and mental support is what they give me,” said Prewitt. “I’ve brought teams to watch Florida practices. The nice thing about college coaches is that they are so willing to help. I go to a tons of coaching clinics.”
Prewitt’s questions to ask one of her college assets range from volleyball strategy to player emotions.
“I often ask how to approach kids that are having technical issues, motivation issues and also coach strategies for me,” said Prewitt. “The difference in generations of players has evolved from 1985 to now from very competitive kids with raw talent to kids who have played club ball since age six or seven and come to the high school with a lot of volleyball intelligence.”
Prewitt’s final say was that no team on her schedule is more important than others.
“I don’t have a favorite team or coach that I like to go after, but no team is too big or too small to go after as a rival,” said Prewitt. “We used to battle Bishop Kenny years ago, Gainesville is always tough, Ridgeview has become a good district rivalry, but all of them we go after and fight for.”