FARMVILLE — As the Farmville Central High School volleyball team made its way home from a victory against BeddingieldJan. 5, they were greeted by members of the Farmville community who gathered to show their support.
Families and fans lined Wilson and Main streets holding signs to show their support for the Jags and to congratulate them on their conference championship.
The event was organized by Farmville Central High School school resource officer Sgt. Melissa S. Pierce. Pierce was encouraged to organize the event by parents who have witnessed the added struggles of COVID-19 has placed on the girls’ volleyball season.
“I’m very proud of these girls because they have been working hard since June going to workouts. They have had this goal since the beginning. Despite the challenges they have managed to be resilient with having to change how they practice and play games, wear a mask, no family at away games, and minimal fans in general,” said freshman Savannah Whaley’s mother Blake Whaley.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, players have had to wear mask and practice social distancing during games. Fans have also been limited at home games and barred from away games.
It was during these games where players received their support from fans, Pierce said.
“Knowing the community is out, behind them and coming to cheer them on for the win, I’m sure it means a lot to the girls,” Pierce said.
Despite the added challenges, the Jags volleyball teamed earned the title of Eastern Plains 2-A champions and had a record of 12-1 overall. They are ranked as the No. 2 seed in the 2-A East.
“They have worked hard against all the things that were thrown against them. They worked hard and came out on top,” Pierce said.
Blake added, “I know the girls are excited for the championship win, but more than that they are excited to finally play some ball regardless of COVID-19 challenges and to have interactions as a team; that’s whether they win or lose.”
Many in the Farmville community agreed and met to show their support.
“I was so impressed at the community pulling together quickly to show their support,” Blake said, adding the event came together in a matter of minutes.
The celebration remained a surprise to the Jags, who were escorted through town by Pierce, Farmville EMS and the Farmville Fire Department.
“At first they were confused. It was a big surprise for them,” said Jags coach Alyssa Pitt.
“They felt appreciated. Usually volleyball isn’t a sport many care about. I thought it was a positive thing for them.”
Pierce added, “It was very uplifting. I believe the girls were in complete surprise. With everyone standing on the side we had posters, everyone cheering, it really made the girls feel like they accomplished something.”
On Tuesday, the Jags were slated to play at home against wild card entry and No. 15 seed Midway (9-3) for the first match of the state volleyball championship.