By KYLE LUTZ
GLEN DALE - First-year John Marshall volleyball coach Carly Lucas feels like she has some unfinished business to take care of at her alma mater, John Marshall. Lucas, who played her entire prep career for the Monarchs, has never been to a state tournament. In 2011, the volleyball team did make it to the state tournament, the year after she graduated.
John Marshall volleyball coach Carly Lucas shouts directions as her team runs through drills during practice at the high school
"As a player, I have always wanted to go to the state tournament. We were so close, and it did not happen," Lucas said. "But to go as a coach, I think it would be a greater feeling to do that than as a player."
Lucas served two year as assistant volleyball coach under Stacy McNally before taking over the reins.
"Being an assistant coach has really helped me learn so much about the game,'' Lucas said. ''I was a four year letter winner here, and also played a year at Bethany College, but I still had a lot to learn about the game. Coaching under coach McNally was a great opportunity for me as I picked up on a lot of her coaching styles and a lot of the ways she did things. I still have my own ways too, but I think she really helped me come in my own as a coach.
"It is awesome being a first year head coach. I was a little apprehensive coming in. It was a new thing for me. But I kind of weened into the position. I am so glad to be here."
McNally is no longer with the Monarchs as she gave birth to twin boys about eight months ago.
According to Lucas, she realized that it was going to be a big task for her to coach and take care of the twins.
"We talked, and she told me that she really wanted me to take the position, and I got the chance to do it," Lucas said.
Lucas is going to have a big task herself as she is still a full time student at West Liberty University, taking 14 credit hours and also working with the television crew, WLUTV-14. She also works at Olive Garden on Sundays. But the 21-year old is not worried about it.
"I have balanced it for the past two years, and I know it is not the same, with me only being the assistant for the past two years," she said. "But for me it is not really anything out of the ordinary. I did balance playing volleyball in college and going to class, and I have also done it for the pass two years with coaching. It would be weird for me to go to school and not coach or not have volleyball in my life. It is a lot of work, and people will think that. But I have not known anything different."
Being so young, the age gap between the seniors and Lucas is not big, but the Monarchs were very welcoming to the new coach.
"These girls respect me so much, and they know to listen to me if they want to get to their goal of playing in the state tournament,'' she said. ''I have got talent from freshmen through seniors."
Going back to Lucas' senior year at John Marshall, the Monarchs advanced to the regional tournament after beating University in Sectionals. It was one of the few times in school history the Monarchs played in the regional tournament.
"That was a huge deal for us," Lucas said. "That was my big thing coming back to coach. I was not ready to leave yet. I was not ready to be done with John Marshall athletics yet. I loved it here. So I just wanted to continue and help in any way that I could."