BOONVILLE — After bookend state championships — one in her freshman year in 2A and one in her senior year in 1A — Starmount four-year starter and setter Erin Barr will take her game to Brevard College this fall.
“It’s life-changing that she left,” Starmount volleyball coach Jon Symons said. “I’ve been unbelievably blessed to have some good setters.
“Not too many kids will walk into your gym as a freshman — the only setter on the floor — and lead you to a state championship.”
Symons said Barr improved each year and he thinks she will improve more.
“As her career went on, the better and better she got,” Symons said. “I’m excited for Erin. I’m excited to see how good she can get.”
A former Starmount setter, Jordan Raye (Class of 2008), is an assistant coach at Brevard. Kelly Burdeau is the head coach.
“She’s in a good situation at Brevard,” Symons said. “Their head coach has really turned it around.”
At five feet, six inches, Barr is anything but a prototypical setter. “It killed me recruiting-wise,” Barr said. “Nobody wanted a five-six setter. Ideally, you want a six-foot setter.”
But Brevard and Burdeau came calling and Barr liked what she heard.
“I really liked Coach Burdeau,” she said. “She made me feel like she wanted me. It just felt right.”
Raye actually was hired after Barr signed her letter of intent. “We get along really well,” Barr said. “I’m excited about her being there.”
At a disadvantage in both height and age, Barr said her older teammates made it possible for her to succeed.
“My freshman year, we really didn’t know we were going to win anything,” Barr said. “We just wanted to be good.
“At first I felt like I was under a lot of pressure,” she continued. “I was nervous. But my teammates were really supportive. They were a lot of fun.”
Symons, Barr said, kept the team focused. “He didn’t talk about championships,” she said. “All he talked about was winning in the playoffs. After the second round, it felt like it was coming together.”
Her senior season was a last shot at another state championship.
“My senior year, we had a good senior class and moving to 1A was a big confidence boost,” she said, adding Symons made a big deal out of it being the senior’s last year. She said he reminded the underclassmen to play for the seniors.
“Our underclassmen bought into it,” Barr said. “They did a great job. We knew we had to work together.”
After losing deep in the playoffs her sophomore and junior seasons, Barr said the team was motivated for the 2013 season.
“We thought we were going to win,” she said. “We all knew how it felt [to lose]. The deeper you go in, the more it hurts to lose.”
“She will be sorely missed,” Symons said. “Not just because she is a great player, but because she is a great leader. She gets it.”
“I had an awesome time at Starmount,” Barr said. “We worked hard every year. We were well-prepared. It was a good experience.”
Barr is undecided on a major, but is considering physical education. “I just want to coach,” she said. “I love kids. I love the game. I love seeing somebody improve.”
Brevard College is about three hours southwest of Boonville — just south of Asheville.
Jim Fuller may be reached at 336-835-1513 or Twitter @elkinareasports.