OLATHE, Kan. — A local youth volleyball team played with extra fire during this President’s Day weekend tournament.
The Louisville, Kentucky-based KIVA volleyball team was playing in honor of their teammates, Rhyan Prather and Kacey McCaw.
“We told them they don’t have to play. We don’t have to do this. One of the little girls raised her hand and said that Carrie and Kacey, Lesley and Rhyan would want them to continue to play,” said Courtney Robison Dixon, Prather and McCaw’s KIVA 12 Red coach.
The 12-year-olds were heading to Kansas City from Louisville for a tournament with their mothers, Lesley Prather and Carrie McCaw, when all four were killed in a car crash.
Police say a pickup truck crashed through a barrier on Interstate 64 just outside St.Louis, hitting them head on.
“There’s times where I’ll be very upset and, like, not understanding why the accident happened. Then there’s also times where I look back and think about all the good memories we had,” teammate Dannah Kerberg said.
The girls left seats open for the teammates and wrote special messages on their shoes during the tournament.
“On our left shoe, we put 14 and Rhyan and just a bunch of nicknames for her,” Kerberg said. “We wanted to honor her. And on our right shoe, we put No. 22 because that was Kasey’s number, and setter and nicknames and just other fun stuff on our shoes.”
Rhyan and Kacey’s absence was definitely felt, as both girls shared team captain duties this season.
“They were just the best leaders. They just always had energy, always had effort. It was like when we needed something, we would turn to them,” Kerberg said.
Their mothers, Lesley and Carrie, were also part of the KIVA volleyball family as coaches.
“As far as it goes for us, these women, two generations of phenomenal volleyball players. Not just phenomenal athletes, but phenomenal humans,” Robison Dixon said.
The KIVA Volleyball club will be playing for all four, all season long.