They said Thursday night’s volleyball match was more than just a game.
On the sidelines, one chair with a pink bow sat empty in honor of Stone. The Lee’s Summit High School volleyball team hosted a memorial match to honor their coach.
Senior volleyball captain Payton Sutton remembers when she found out her coach was gone.
“I immediately broke down in tears and just cried,” Sutton said. “(She) to me was almost like a second mom.”
Sutton and Sienna Jones played for Stone on the freshman team years ago. Now seniors, they’re captains and warmed up with a little more on their hearts and sleeves: Coach “Stone” was written in pink.
“Her favorite color was pink,” Jones said.
Stone coached volleyball for the last six years, according to head coach Brittany Boerigter. Before that, Stone led the Tigerettes dance team, which performed Thursday before the whistle blew.
“It’s more than just a game,” Boerigter said.
She said Stone wasn’t just a positive pillar in the program but also in the community.
“The community, I think, needs the moment to really come together. When it’s such a tragedy, it’s a lot of sadness,” Boerigter said, “and we haven’t been able to celebrate all the good she did.”
Rival Lee’s Summit North, on the opposite side of the court, wore pink in honor of the home team’s former coach.
Jones said Stone wanted the team to bring the energy, play competitive and have fun.
“Every time I’m on a court or I’m in a competitive situation, I think, I wouldn’t be here without her pushing be to be better than I was,” Jones said.
Jones said Stone’s guidance hit home. Now, she passes it along to the underclassmen.
Stone also worked in the district for 23 years. Students said she was a beloved physical education and health teacher.
“She was a person who demonstrated love in all of her actions,” senior volleyball player Audrey Felker said, “and I want her family to feel loved.”
The team and previous players also signed a volleyball and gifted it to the family.