By Richard Pryor III
Some of you might have missed that to start their season, the Sewanee Volleyball team is raking in the wins, with 14 wins to three losses, which is a humongous improvement over their record from last year, where they had 13 wins and 14 losses.
It’s also the second-best start in program history. It’s fair to say that the hiring of new head coach Nancy Mueller-Culver helped a lot. Mueller-Culver served as a head coach at the Division I level at schools like the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of South Florida. However, a good bit of their success might be due to Lilly Reilly (C’22) too.
Reilly, a right side hitter from Lovettsville, Virginia, made history earlier this season as the first player from Sewanee to win the Sports Imports/American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III National Player of the Week. Replacing the graduated Caroline Owens (C’18), Reilly has already passed her in kills, with 145, and in points with 190.5. It’s honestly astounding that she’s already passed Owens’s full-season totals from last year.
Reilly is also well-regarded by her coaches and teammates. Mueller-Culver said after Reilly won the Player of the Week award that “Lilly is a great player and a better person. Her work ethic shows in earning this award.”
Her teammate Stephanie Price (C’20) informed The Purple that “Lilly is a dedicated athlete who keeps her cool during intense situations to help put points away when we really need them.” Price also commented that “the team chemistry is stronger than it’s ever been, on and off the court,” adding that the players “all play a big part in the success that is happening, whether it be scoring points on the court or cheering on the bench.”