The Jacksonville Fight'n Maiden volleyball team will end their season on a somber note when they host Corsicana's Lady Tigers at 6:30 p.m. this evening at the Jacksonville Gymnasium.
Team members have been experiencing some of life's more unpleasant tribulations over the past 72 hours or so as two team members have lost members of their immediate family.
First, on Friday Kelsey Pate, a member of the Jacksonville freshman volleyball team, learned of the passing of her grandfather, Rev. Thomas Pate.
Then, early Saturday morning news spread throughout town that “Coach” Stacy Hunter, a long-time fixture in the Jacksonville youth sports scene, had been fatally shot at one of his north Jacksonville businesses.
One of Hunter's three daughters, Jennifer, a freshman, plays on the Maiden varsity team.
Prior to the start of the varsity match tonight, a special tribute will be made in memory of Mr. Hunter.
“I know we will have a moment of silence to reflect back on the life of Stacy Hunter (tonight) because of what he meant to so many of our kids,” Billie Walley, Jacksonville head volleyball coach said. “We may also do something else such as wear a black ribbon on the uniforms, or other appropriate gestures.
“I am mainly letting the girls take the lead on this. This has been a devastating loss for many that were close to him (Mr. Hunter) and we want to do whatever we can to give the families all the support that we can give at this time.”
As expected Walley said Monday was a very difficult day for her young ladies.
“It was hard; there were a lot of tears shed in that locker room this morning,” Walley said.
Walley said that her experiences have told her that there are no magical words to make the pain go away.
“There is really nothing I can say in a situation like this,” she stated. “The best thing is just to give 'em a big hug and tell them that you will keep them in your prayers.”
Tonite's match will also serve as Senior Night for the Maidens.