The Covenant Day volleyball team set the school-record with 32 wins, extended their conference winning streak to include a two-year span during which they’ve won 28 consecutive games and wound up playing in the private-school state championship game this year.
There were a lot of reasons that the Lions had their best season ever, but coach Heather Mills said maybe the biggest reason of all was junior setter Megan Embry.
“She’s such a great player because she’s a winner – I mean, she’s not willing to lose – and because of that, it enables us to be as good as we are,” Mills said. “In high school you take what you have and you build it, so you have to have that central player who is the glue and that’s what we have with Megan.”
Embry led the Lions with 921 assists, but did everything else well, too, as she tallied 286 digs, 73 kills and had 39 aces while recording a team-high .971 serving percentage, which speaks volumes toward her consistency – something Emery prides herself on and takes very seriously.
“I’ve heard the setter being referred to as the quarterback of the team, and I think that comes with setting the pace and leadership responsibilities,” Embry said. “I think as a setter you see more than the other positions because you’re involved in every step and you touch the ball most every single play. I think that forces me to be consistent because if I’m not it doesn’t set a good groove for the team.”
Embry certainly set a good tone for a team that went 32-4 including 14-0 in the Metrolina Athletic Conference. She led the Lions to their first-ever win over rival Charlotte Latin, helped them defeat eventual state champion Charlotte Country Day and earned all-conference and all-state honors.
Now, Embry is the 2013 Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group’s Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly Volleyball Player of the Year.
“As a team, especially with our team being so young, all of our younger girls stepped it up and were the reason we went as far as we did,” Embry said. “We broke so many records for Covenant Day volleyball and it was awesome that I was able to be a part of that. It’s great for our program.”
Mills said Embry is much more than just part of a program: she’s one of the cornerstones of a team who returns all but one player from last year and will again be a state championship contender behind Emery’s leadership.
“Megan’s disposition lends it toward (leadership) because she’s very approachable,” Mills said. “Not everyone will go to the coach or not everyone will go to certain players – especially if they’re very good players – because there’s a level of intimidation that makes them approachable. She doesn’t know how rare that it is or how important it is for us, it doesn’t show up in any statistic, but it’s huge for us.”
Embry said that, like many of her teammates, she plans on playing club volleyball this offseason and continuing to take her game to the next level. She said this season was a special one, but the Lions will come back next year using this simply as a starting point.
“This year we could have done it, we just didn’t pull through,” she said. “We need to start where we left off and build upon that. Being more experienced and being together again, I think that’s going to help because we know what it feels like and we can build off that.
“We’re going to come back stronger and make sure we take the next step next year.”