ANNA – Though a close, hard-fought battle down to the last serve, this contest on Friday, Aug. 4, at Anna High School featured something else: broad smiles and laughter on both sides of the net after every point. This was, after all, Anna's annual varsity-versus-alumni volleyball match — a fun-filled Lady Coyote tradition now for over a decade.

For varsity team members it's a chance to relax a bit after nearly a week of two-a-day practices and scrimmages. For alumni, it's an opportunity to reconnect with old friends. And for families and coaches, it's a treat – especially for ninth-year Anna head coach Tomika Crosby.

“It was kind of exciting to watch the alumni because every last one of those girls are girls that I've coached – and they've still got it,” she said after her varsity squad prevailed in a squeaker, 25-23, 25-23, 6-4. “They still knew what to do. I'm excited when they come back because they want to come back to Anna, and that speaks volumes about their experience here.”

“I come pretty much every year,” said 2011 graduate Jessie Thomas. “I love seeing Coach Crosby. She is such a great coach, working with all these girls. She coached me seventh-grade through twelfth- grade, in multiple sports. She's such a great person. And I love coming back seeing my old teammates. … We did great. I think we had a good lineup, a good team.”

Other alumni players included Skylar Van Norman (2017), Amanda Bautista (2015), Brenda Bautista (2013), Amanda Rossi (2012) and Mikaela Gilliland (2016).

“I come back for Coach Crosby too,” Amanda Bautista said.

How did Bautista think her team fared?

“For no subs, I'd say pretty good,” she said. “We didn't have a setter, but we had our outside hitters, we had our middle hitters and we had our (weakside) hitters.”

On the varsity side, Lady Coyote sophomores Lexi Stewart and Rachel Goade said they were impressed by their elders.

“It was a fast pace, it was really competitive,” Stewart said. “It was really surprising. Some of them could hit a lot — like good.”

Added Goade, “It was surprising how well they could still play.”

Said senior Taylor Medrick, “I know a few of them still work out. It was kind of like what I expected, but it was fun.”

Other varsity players included Lauren Morrison, Fekyra Wells, Lauren Schlicht, Micaela Cornelius, Alana Pina, Julianne Curiel and Bella Boyd.