The Georgia Christian volleyball team has accomplished something that has never been done in school history.
Coach Carrie Johnson has led her players to the first 10-win season since the program was started six years ago.
Quite an impressive feat, even more so considering this was supposed to be the season that they were rebuilding.
If Johnson’s name sounds familiar to the outside world, it may have to do with the fact that the entire Johnson clan has their hand in Georgia Christian sports, somehow.
Her son, Christian, is a returning all-state senior on the football team. He plays both wideout and defensive end. Her husband, Christian’s dad Mike, coaches with the football team and virtually every sport Christian plays, his dad coaches him.
Then comes Carrie and their daughter, Samantha. Samantha is a bit of an all-state player in her own right, winning the prestigious honors two years running.
With all of these athletes and coaches, one has to wonder, what’s it like?
“Well I can tell you, it’s always busy (laughs),” Carrie Johnson said. “Mike coaches Christian in all of his sports and I coach Samantha in her sport. On the plus side, there is always a parent at a game, you can count on that. I will say, even though we may not be home a lot, it is all worth it. We’re a big sports family, as you can tell. I’m big on watching NFL, though I’m not much for college football. Christian and Mike pretty much watch all sports.”
With how much the Johnson’s are into sports, it’s no wonder that Carrie started the volleyball program at Georgia Christian six years ago.
Prior to that, she played at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama. After her playing years, she was an assistant coach with the volleyball team.
“In total, I have been coaching for about eight years,” Carrie added. “We have had our children at GCS for their entire academic careers, but about six years ago I made the push to get the volleyball program started. I felt like it would be good for the community.”
Of all the years, this year may have been the one the Lady Generals did not expect to earn their first ten-win season.
“This all came as a surprise,” Carrie said. “We lost six seniors from last fall, which is a huge blow. We nearly got our first ten-win season last year, but we just missed it and finished with nine wins. We only brought back two starters this year. We even have an eighth grader starting on varsity. Not that I doubted them, but when you rebuild, you don’t expect this sort of success.”
Quite an interesting rebuild, indeed.
“We finished the year doing great things,” Carrie stated. “We beat Valdosta, which is huge. Our small program beat one of the top public teams in the state. We also finished the year at 10-9, which is above .500 for the first time in program history. We got that tenth win in the last game. That’s what made it feel even better. We were able to close out the season with a win against Thomasville to finish off the ten-win season.”
Region play will begin Thursday in a three-team tournament to decide who will move on to the state playoffs.
“I think that we could make it to the playoffs,” Carrie said. “We could make it to the final four and even to the state championship. It’s all in how the girls respond to the level of competition. We are a strong team; we just lack the experience the other teams have”
Jenna Sikes is a senior that has helped to lead the team to great heights within the program and has played since it began six years ago.
“Jenna is undoubtedly our leader,” Carrie said. “She has been playing in the program since she was in seventh grade. Her leadership is great for the team, especially with the lack of experience that we have.”
Although this season has statistically been the best that the Lady Generals have experience, the future seems to be even brighter.
The middle school team seems to be bringing a dominating team to the varsity level in a few short seasons.
“We have a large middle school team—seventeen total players,” Carrie added. “Add to that, we have two fifth-grade managers that help and learn from the other middle schoolers. I’m very proud and excited for the future. They are 6-2 on the year so far. We are competing Saturday for the district championship in Covington, GA at Peachtree.”
The team is led by Maddie Mira, an eighth grader, who happens to be the player that is also a starter on the varsity team.
“Maddie is a great player,” Carrie said. “She is the middle school captain and she is one of the top players on varsity. I am excited to have her on the team and for the next few years in the program.”
Georgia Christian volleyball seems to be in quite capable hands as Coach Carrie Johnson leads the team to bigger and better things. Look for championships to come in the future