When Argyle coach Megan DeGroot got her team’s stats after beating defending state champion Decatur last week, one number in particular jumped off the page.
Sophomore Jada Price, who was instrumental from start to finish, had a 42 in the dig column.
“I knew she had a lot,” DeGroot said. “But I wanted to go back and stat it to make sure.”
DeGroot went back and reviewed film from the five-set match not once, but twice — a process that took six hours.
By the time she finished, DeGroot realized Price had recorded even more digs than they first thought.
“Originally, it was 42 [digs],” DeGroot said. “But I watched it twice and got 47. To stat everything twice, my head hurt so bad.”
Price’s 47 digs set a new single-game school record, a mark previously held by former standout Paxton McGlinch. But much like her coach, Price had no idea just how many shots she had saved until well after the match had ended.
“I knew I played well, just because you kind of know when you play well,” Price said. “But I didn’t know I had that many.”
For Price, though, accolades are the last thing she is focused on.
Argyle’s libero has her sights set on much loftier goals, and, perhaps more importantly, helping her senior teammates reach them.
“This team means a lot,” Price said. “There’s seven seniors, so it’s not going to be the same team next year. It means a lot just to be on the team with these players. I’m never going to be on a team like this again, so it won’t be as special as it is now.”
Price’s first step in helping the team was changing positions.
A converted setter, Price spent last summer making the transition to libero, working primarily on her serve-receive. And the switch has paid off.
In addition to leading the team with 392 digs, Price has also helped the Lady Eagles win 12 straight games. Argyle is 26-5 overall and 3-0 in District 8-4A after taking sweeping Krum last Friday and has not lost since Sept. 6.
“[Libero] is one of my favorite positions because it’s not one that is typically given a lot of praise,” DeGroot said. “Everybody wants to see the ball hit really hard, and everybody wants to see the ball be blocked, but nobody ever talks about the fact that someone just dug up a ball going 70 mph at the 10-foot line. That takes a special type of person.
“It takes someone who is almost like the quarterback of the back row. She does that gracefully. But she also takes everything as a challenge. Every time she goes back there, she’s going to war.”
Price has shown to her coach and her teammates just how special she is.
Averaging 13.1 digs per match and 5.4 digs per set, Price flashes a rare combination of poise and quickness that has allowed her to dominate on the back row.
“She’s an extremely athletic person,” Argyle senior setter Kassidy Reeves said. “She’s so fast and strong. Even sometimes if she reads it wrong, she’s quick enough to where she can make that change to get to the ball. It’s really awesome to have her.”
Although she is just a sophomore, Price has emerged as a valuable weapon for this Argyle team that is looking to make a deep playoff run. The Lady Eagles missed the state tournament for the first time since 2013 last year, falling to Glen Rose in the third round.
Argyle has no intention of missing out on the trip to Garland this year.
Already at 26 wins, the Lady Eagles have matched their win total from last season — and Price, like the rest of her teammates, have no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
“I truly believe we can win state,” Price said. “If we play like we did against Decatur, keep the pressure and stay committed to each other, we can win.”