ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — When you think of Hidden Valley volleyball, the Ponn family comes to mind.
Mom and head coach Carla Ponn has guided the Titans to over 500 wins and to the state tournament nearly every year since 2007.
It’s been six years since their last title and her daughter Caleigh might just be the key for Hidden Valley to get back on top.
“Growing up in this gym. I grew up here. Mom coached,” Caleigh Ponn said. “I was young, came here had fun. Played against the wall. Did whatever I could with the volleyball. Kinda just fell in love and it was in my family’s genes.”
Volleyball is in Caleigh’s blood. Her mom, the longtime head coach of the Titans, played a big role in her daughter’s success.
“Really she’s my biggest fan. She’s believed in whatever I need to do,” Ponn said. “She’s very very intense, wants you to be great but she’s an amazing coach. She gets us where we need to be and without her we couldn’t be successful and strong girls.”
But the mother-daughter duo is able to strike a balance between life and volleyball.
“We do set some boundaries. Off the court, we try not to talk about it. But on the court, it’s all volleyball. Let’s go,” Ponn said.
The sophomore cemented her legacy at Hidden Valley relatively quickly, becoming the fastest in school history to reach 500 career kills.
“It’s a great achievement. I’m so glad it happened. I couldn’t do it without everybody else but it’s just crazy to think that sophomore year, that’s what I’m doing,” Ponn said. “So hopefully senior year, we’ll get up there and see what we can do. But it’s really great. I’m excited.”
Her athleticism is one you have to see to believe, even for Caleigh herself.
“In games, it’s like cool I got the kill but when I’m watching it’s like ‘wait? that happened? and I put that there? Sometimes I don’t even remember so it’s good to like watch and see what I’m doing,” Ponn said.
And with every kill, Caleigh is determined to live up to the reputation of Hidden Valley volleyball.
“Defending the name is a big thing in our gym,” Ponn said. “If it’s not with the win, being a good person, respect your teammate and just having good sportsmanship so defending the name always.”