Pratapas comes home to take over JV volleyball

Published 9:24 am Friday, August 14, 2015

Carly Pratapas made a name for herself as a Davie volleyball player. Now she will attempt to make a mark as a Davie volleyball coach.

The 2009 graduate is the new junior varsity coach, replacing Amber Brandon, who moved up to take the varsity reigns.

Pratapas was a varsity standout from 2006-08, earning All-Central Piedmont Conference honors as a junior and senior. She helped Davie record three winning seasons, finishing third in the CPC in 2006, tying for second in 2007 and claiming second outright in 2008. The ‘08 squad is one of the best in school history, going 19-7, 8-2 and beating Northern Durham and East Forsyth to reach the round of 16 in the 4-A playoffs. Only two other teams have reached 19 victories (21-6 in 1981 and 19-4 in 2002).

“I had offers at Division-II schools, but I decided I wanted to go to a big school (UNC-Charlotte) and enjoy the college life,” Pratapas said.

In a few weeks she will begin her second year as a third-grade teacher at Shady Grove. “I definitely wanted to come back home and start teaching, and then hopefully get my foot in the door for coaching,” she said.

In case you’re wondering, yeah, that’s her brother on the Davie offensive line. Luke Pratapas is a Division-I prospect heading into his junior year.

As far as coaching goes, the volleyball program could be stable for a while. Brandon and Pratapas are both in their mid-20s. Brandon is elated to have Pratapas running the JV.

“We were acquaintances when we were in high school,” Brandon, who played at Forbush, said. “I knew as soon as I got the job, she was really the first phone call I made to see if she would be interested in coming on board. I know I can ask for her opinion and she gives it to me straight. She has a volleyball mind. I want a program. For me, what’s going on with the JV is just as important as what’s going on with the varsity, and with Carly I know I don’t have to worry. It has been good.”

The feeling is mutual.

“I love working with Amber,” Pratapas said. “We have a blast. We have a lot of fun, but I think we also bring a lot skill-wise to the program. We’re a good balance for each other. It’s a good combo.”

Susan Jones is assisting both teams. She is also a teacher at Shady Grove.

The ‘15 JV has six sophomores and seven freshmen. The sophs are Kim Clemo, Claire Wallace, Morgan Garner, Kam Parks, Hannah Baysinger and Amelia Correll. The Davie rookies are Emma Slabach, Abby Wilkins, Hannah Shore, Morgan Flores, Cara Terry, Katlyn Mote and Maddie Taylor.

Brandon directed the ‘14 JV to 17-4 overall and 9-3 in the CPC. It’s hard to imagine this team not being, at the very least, competitive.

“I think we’ll be pretty good all the way around,” Pratapas said. “We’ll have kind of a young team. Getting them trained as high-school players vs. middle school is a transition, but give us another few weeks and I think we’ll be very competitive in our conference. There’s enough good players that they’re going to have to fight for their spot every week. There’s enough talent and drive that it’s going to be competitive in our own gym.”

Pratapas said “we have some really good defensive players” in Flores, Terry and Mote.

Clemo and Wallace are the setters. “I trained Clemo as a setter and she can play any position,” she said. “She’s super versatile. She’s a big team player, hard worker, and I think she’ll do big things this year.

“Clemo and Wallace will be my captains, my leaders, run the floor.”

Slabach “will be a help all the way around, for sure,” she said. The foremost hitters could be Shore, Slabach, Wilkins and Taylor.