By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
This was supposed to be a down year for the Stillwater High School volleyball team. They didn’t have much of an offensive attack with a bunch of virtually unknowns filling the roster.
In fact, arguably the best player on Stillwater’s team was libero Carley Geer.
But that’s the funny thing about a good defense. Sometimes it can lead to some surprising outcomes — such as the Lady Pioneers’ improbable run to the state tournament.
“Not only was (Geer) a big part of it this year, but I think next year you’re going to see that it’s hard to fill her shoes,” Stillwater coach Jason Webber said. “It takes a lot of defense and a lot of leadership. It’s very difficult to get (to state), but because of her and several other parties we were able to put a couple things together.”
Typically defensive players don’t like to draw too much attention to themselves, and Geer is no exception. She knows that no publicity is typically good publicity. That’s just the nature of the job.
“Defensive players don’t really get that much glory, but knowing that I can show myself and represent all the other defensive players that have tried really hard to get glory, it makes me feel good about myself,” Geer said.
And while she typically doesn’t get much attention, there will be at least one area where the senior did get some positive feedback. Not only did Geer set the Stillwater career record with 1,697 digs, the senior also set a new single-season record with 558 digs.
“I didn’t know much about (the single-season) record until I broke the career record and looked into it more,” Geer said. “I looked into it in earlier years, but I was just into it a little more this year after I broke the career record.”
As any coach will tell you, records are meant to be broken. But setting these records were anything but easy for Geer.
“It’s been really neat to see her become the veteran that’s had so many touches and should know it all, but even in her senior year she was willing to try new things to reach new goals and learn new techniques,” Webber said. “I really applaud her for that. It would have been really easy for her to say, ‘I got it coach. I know what I’m doing. I’m just going to do it this way.’ Instead she said, ‘No, I’m going to give this a try,’ and sure enough she got better along the way.”
One of those new techniques? Learning to read opposing hitters better.
“I’ve improved a lot and I’ve got a lot better,” Geer said. “It was kind of difficult, but having a good, supporting coach and supporting people around me helped me learn better. I don’t like letting anything hold me back. If something messes up, you just say OK and you learn from it and move on and improve that way.”
“That’s the kind of attitude that I want all my girls to have,” Webber said. “It means that she can be a role model in sharing that kind of attitude. It’s one that says I’m never done learning and I’m never done trying to get better, even if I think I know this. I’m going to give it one more look, one more shot, one more study and see what I can do to improve.”
There may not be much left for Geer to improve on at the high school level after finishing her career with a pair of records that will likely stand for the next 20 or 30 years and capping things off with an All-State selection, but Geer is hopeful her legacy will continue to live on after she graduates in May.
“It shows everyone that they can live up to something just like I did,” Geer said. “I saw that record before and I wanted to beat it. I wanted to be the one that holds the record, so I fought as hard as I could to do it.”
“I don’t know if that record is ever going to be broken,” Webber said. “It’s going to take someone special to do what she’s done here in her four years here. She’s certainly set the bar high and left some big shoes to fill.”
Rylee Bellmon, Perry cross country
Tracy Eisensmith, Mulhall-Orlando baseball
Paul Giddeon, Cushing cross country
Garret Gosney, Ripley baseball
J.K. Hadlock, Glencoe baseball
Hunter Hall, Glencoe baseball
Maggie Ireton, Stillwater volleyball
Colton Looper, Perry cross country
Zach Porterfield, Stillwater cross country
Houston Twoguns, Ripley baseball
Carley Walstad, Stillwater volleyball
Chandler Salinas, Ripley baseball
Dali Atchley, Perry cross country
Claytin Beaver, Glencoe baseball
Elise Rackley, Stillwater cross country