By Nick Snow
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The night before the all-state volleyball team was announced, Stillwater High School senior Kiley Josey barely got any sleep. She eventually drifted off, however, before waking to the sound of her cell phone shortly before 8 a.m.
On the other line was Stillwater coach Jason Webber with some good news — Josey and fellow senior Peyton Meacham had made all-state.
“He called me and woke me up at 8 a.m. and told me the news just as I was getting ready to start my day off,” Josey said. “I knew that they had been meeting the day before, so all night I was just freaking out. I had no idea. It was such a relief when he called me and told me.”
At first Josey thought she was still dreaming. As it turns out that dream was in fact a reality as Meacham and Josey became the first Lady Pioneers to earn all-state honors since Anna Gentry did it in 2009.
“We’ve gone a few years without having an all-stater and then to have two, it just shows the dedication that our program has had this last year in doing our absolute best,” Webber said. “You cannot become an all-stater without people behind you. It takes your natural talent but it also takes the hard work of your team, supporting you along the way and supporting each other.”
Meacham led the team with 365 kills and 45 blocks on the season, while Josey finished with 359 kills in 11 fewer sets. Josey also had a team-high 46 aces and was second on the team with 309 digs.
For Meacham and Josey, earning all-state honors is a dream that has been in the making since the sixth grade.
“Ever since we were little girls in the sixth grade, we would look at those little figurines and say ‘Wow, we just want to be them one day,’” Meacham said. “To finally obtain that goal is just life changing. It’s absolutely fantastic. We finally made our goal. We put in the hard work and we finally get to enjoy it.”
“Since we started playing in junior high, we’d always go to the games and watch,” Josey said. “They were such stars and so much older than us. Now that we’re that age and we’re doing this it’s like a dream come true.”
That dream took a lot of work, according to Webber. Josey and Meacham would often spend several hours after practice perfecting their skills in hopes to one day join the all-staters that they saw play when they were younger.
“Those girls were tireless workers for us,” Webber said. “They put in the long hours in practice, even if nobody else was in the gym, just trying to get better. If we saw something as coaches that they needed to work on, neither one of them would stop working on it until they had perfected it — whether it was on the court or off the court.
“It’s great to have two powerhouses, but what was more crucial to just having them was the fact that they bought in to our system, supported the other girls and were cheering just as loud on the off chance that I pulled them out. It was about being a teammate. They both took that very seriously and they both worked on improving those skills as well as their volleyball skills.”
Having one player make the all-state roster was one thing, but for this duo, getting to share in that moment together after all the work they put in made it even sweeter.
“It’s great,” Meacham said. “I’m so glad that I have somebody else as great as Kiley to be named to it with me. She’s a great player and I knew all along that she would get it. I’m just glad that I get to share this experience with her because we’ve been playing volleyball together ever since eighth grade. It’s just the icing on the cake for our year.”
And while they may be going their separate ways at the end of the school year, just knowing that they have returned Stillwater to the top of Oklahoma’s volleyball world and perhaps created a dream for a pair of girls just like them, makes it feel like the pair has done their duty to Lady Pioneer volleyball.
“It’s a crazy feeling,” Josey said. “When I was little, I felt so small. I looked up to them and just thought that they were so much better than I’d ever be. Now knowing that someone else is in my shoes and I’m in the shoes of those girls that I used to watch, it’s surreal.”