Carly Garrison magnifies the home advantage of the Juneau-Douglas High School volleyball program.
The senior, who will be playing her final high school home matches against Sitka tonight and Saturday, has been a part of the team for four years and reached the varsity squad this season. But her contributions to the Crimson Bears go far beyond serves and digs on the court.
From the beginning, Garrison has tackled off-court projects for the benefit of her teammates and the volleyball program. And it's a family affair, as Garrison's parents, Bruce and Raydene, also have lent considerable time to the team.
"My entire life I was brought up thinking that if you can do something to help, you should," Carly Garrison said. "Because I've found this team to be like a family, I've done as much as I can."
That's best summed up in the massive team banner she and her mother constructed this season. When the team's old banner started to deteriorate, coach Sandi Wagner looked for someone to craft a replacement.
"I knew Raydene was very talented; she had made some quilt hangings for our auction in the past," Wagner said. "I asked Carly, and she took it on with vigor."
The family searched for old volleyball nets to decorate the banner. Finding none, they substituted hammocks. Carly assembled 11-piece "paws" for each of the 13 varsity players, which were affixed to the banner.
The banner - at more than 20 feet long - was draped around the Garrison home for weeks.
"It was in about every room at some point," Raydene Garrison said.
Among the Garrisons' other contributions to the program, Bruce has helped organize the JIVE tournament spaghetti luncheon the last few seasons; Carly and Raydene have designed and sewn dozens of articles of clothing for senior gifts or other team activities; and Carly wrote a letter to the city in support of funding for new volleyball equipment - which the team received.
"You're involved from kindergarten on," Bruce Garrison said of his kids' school activities. "You do what you can to make it a rewarding experience."
Carly Garrison started playing volleyball in middle school - Bruce served as a van driver on a team trip to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory - and stuck with it after giving other sports a shot.
"I tried just about every sport you can play," she said. With volleyball "I like the team aspect, but there's not so many of you that you get lost."
Garrison made the varsity squad this season, and Juneau coaches praised her leadership on and off the court.
"She's very dedicated," Wagner said. "She's been with us for four years and has worked hard to get to where she is. ...
"She decided it was important to her to play well, and she has worked her way onto varsity."
Garrison's accomplishments extend far beyond the realm of athletics. She is a 4.0 student and member of the National Honor Society who is interested in pursuing a scientific research career; she plays saxophone and will travel to the Southeast Honors Music Festival in Haines later this month; and she is a board member and advocate for Juneau Youth Court.
It's a lot to fit in, but Garrison said she thrives by staying busy.
But as the Crimson Bear spikers
celebrate Senior Night at Saturday's match, the end will draw closer for a big part of Garrison's busy schedule.
"This weekend will finally make me realize I'm a senior," she said.
In addition to Garrison, this season's Juneau volleyball seniors include Amber Johnson, Megan Treston, Bianca Carpeneti, Christianne Mae Carrillo, Ashley Guthrie, Valorie Kissel, Emily Langkiet, Nicole Lim, Rebekah Menze, Tara Pasillas, Charlotte Perry, Emily Peyton, Angelica Toribio and Selena Zuccotti.
This weekend's matches start at 8 p.m. both nights for varsity, 6:15 p.m. for junior varsity and 4:30 p.m. for C teams. Juneau is a perfect 14-0 this season in best three-of-five matches; they dropped a few best two-of-three mini matches last week en route to a fifth-place finish at the Service-Dimond Invitational in Anchorage.
Sitka is coming off a sweep at the hands of the Ketchikan Kings last weekend. The Wolves lost in three games last Friday, but rebounded to take Ketchikan to five games last Saturday before falling on Senior Night in Sitka.
After this weekend, a mix of Juneau varsity, JV and C team players will host teams from across Southeast at the All-Comers tournament on October 29-30. The Region V-Class 3A/4A volleyball championship will be held at Craig on November 4-6, with the top 4A squad and top two 3A teams earning berths at the state tournament, to be held November 11-13 in Anchorage.
Andrew Krueger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.