PREP VOLLEYBALL: ‘When you work together, nothing can stop you’: Fairview’s Ralie Gaines recaps junior season

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Fairview’s Ralie Gaines. (Courtesy of Ralie Gaines)

FAIRVIEW, Ala. — Fairview junior volleyball player Ralie Gaines completed her third season on the JV team and has had a great experience so far. She has learned a couple of important things during that time, and watching the varsity squad play has helped her with her game.

“It has been a really good experience. I have learned a lot from my coaches and teammates. Overall, it is my fun sport to play. We have pretty good chemistry together as a team, but there is a two-year age gap from the freshmen and the three juniors that were on JV. It took some time getting used to playing with them. I learned patience and I learned new things from people that I didn’t expect to learn from them,” Gaines said. “It helped looking at their skill, and that helped me correct my mistakes.”

Ralie feels blessed to be around a great group of girls and learned so much from them and from her coaches.

“They are absolutely amazing. I wouldn’t change a thing about them. I love each and every one of them. I learned kindness, how to think of others, and how to get through a game. When you don’t have a good day, it’s always good to have someone pick you up on those hard days,” Gaines said. “My JV coach, Ashley Stanley, is the one that has taught me the most. She would stay after practice with me whenever I wanted and for however long. She helped me get out of bad habits that I would get into. She would make sure to tell me that things take time to correct and that if I keep trying and keep learning, I will succeed and be where I need to be. She would encourage all of us and kept us up and going. She would get so excited to see us achieve our goals and do things that we thought we couldn’t do.”

She added,

“I didn’t have too much time with coach Katie Ball, but she absolutely loves us and wanted the best for us. She wanted us to try our hardest and to not give up.”

During her short time on varsity last season, Ralie soaked up so much from the nine seniors on the team. She has seen so much improvement in her game from her first year on JV to now.

“They were a great group of girls. There were nine of them, so we are losing a good chunk of our team. They are incredibly talented, and they know the game so well. They would never judge you when you would ask them questions. If you mess up, they will encourage you to try again and that you would get it the next time. They really truly love the game. Overall, they wanted the best for us and wanted us to improve and become better players, as well as themselves. I have learned that encouraging people goes a long way. They have made a big impact in my life with their kindness.”

She added,

“I have improved a whole lot. I went from not playing much and not being able to dive and pick up balls, to being our Libero now and picking up the balls I thought I would never be able to get to. I’ve improved the most on my passing and my serves.”

Ralie has some big goals for herself and for the team next season. She talked about what made this group of girls special to be around and what will make this team special to watch next season.

“The goals for next season are to improve more, to try my hardest on everything, to encourage my teammates, to get All-County, to surprise myself and others what I can do, lift up my teammates, and see them accomplish their goals,” she said. “What made this team special to be around last season is that we were a family. There was never a dull moment with them. All of us love and care about each other. What will make us special to watch next season is how we will work together and pull one another up, and how much we will improve, not just individually, but as a team.”

Ralie has so many role models that she looks up to in volleyball.

“Coach Stanley always encourages me to be better and to work hard. She has always been someone that I can go and talk to. She always wants not just me, but all of us, to be the best athletes and best people we can be. Laci Segrest is a team player. She wants all of us to be the best that we can be. She lifts us up when we are down. She is the teammate that even we are losing by 20, she is going to be cheering for us and encouraging us. Peyton Salazar is the kindest person. She knows how to treat others. You can see Jesus in her. She will never be mean to someone. She will encourage you, and even when she is frustrated or mad, she will never turn you away. Karlie English is an absolutely amazing person and an incredible athlete. She is going to encourage you to keep going and try your best. She wants you to be the best you can be at all aspects of your life, and she will always be there for you.”

She talked about the best advice that someone has ever given her, how important it is to be a role model to the younger girls that are watching her, and what she learned the most about herself and this team last season.

“No matter what life throws at you, always be yourself, and you shouldn’t care about what others think about you. The only opinion that matters is God’s,” she said. “It is one of the most important things to me. I want to be an example to them and show them how to be kind to others. I learned that is always room for improvement in everything that you do. When you work together, nothing can stop you. Team chemistry is the best aspect for a team.”

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