Vancleave High holds volleyball tournament to honor former coach

Vancleave High holds volleyball tournament to honor former coach
Organizers say they plan to make the game an annual event. (Photo source: WLOX News)

VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - The name of the game was bump, set, spike as the Vancleave High School community played to remember the life of a former volleyball coach on Saturday.

Eight teams played in the tournament, competing to honor Shyla VanAlstine, who was killed in a car accident with her husband, Philip and their young daughter, on the way home from visiting Blue Bayou water park in Baton Rouge in 2008.

"She loved teaching, she loved being around the students, and being able to get them motivated to play volleyball," said Dana Peterson of her friend.

Vancleave High School Athletic Director Matt Walters says current volleyball coach Hayley Chatham called him saying she wanted to put a tournament together, so he got to work organizing.

"It's kind of come together in the last two weeks for us. Some of the proceeds are going to go to a scholarship fund set up in her honor," said Walters.

Shyla, who was an English teacher for 14 years and volleyball coach for 10, is remembered fondly by members of the Vancleave High School community. She led the Vancleave volleyball team to the state final four in the years 2000 and 2001; her name still up on the walls of the Vancleave High gym.

"She was very well loved, she was a wonderful young lady, and she's sadly missed," said Rachel Holbert.

Organizers of the event say they plan to make the tournament an annual event.

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