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Parker County clash: Ladycats travel to Weatherford today in husband/wife coaching showdown

Aledo middle hitter Sarah Haeussler (7) and outside hitter Alex Grooms (12) put up the block during a recent match. The Ladycats will travel to Weatherford today for a 6:30 p.m. match at Weatherford High School. Photos by Tony Eierdam

It is interesting enough that a pair of Parker County schools are back to playing each other again in the regular season as the Aledo Ladycats travel to Weatherford for a non-district volleyball match.

The Ladycats and Lady Roos will play at 6 p.m. today at Weatherford High School. The freshman and junior varsity matches will begin at 5 p.m.

The two schools meet annually in Aledo’s home scrimmage, but practice games are no match for a contest that counts on a team’s record.

Many of the girls playing on the two teams either play together in club volleyball or have played against one another on the select circuit.

But today, there is added spice to the renewed rivalry. Not only do both schools sport new head coaches, but the two coaches are married to each other.

Weatherford head coach Nick Gay and Aledo head coach Claire Gay will square off in a sort of a family feud.

Nick Gay took the Weatherford job early last spring after a successful stint at Denton Ryan. Claire Gay, owner of bragging rights in the family after winning two state championships at Decatur, took over at Aledo in May after 21-year head coach Kathy Goings retired.

However, this will not be the first time the Gays have faced each other.

“We have faced each other a couple of times in non-district,” Nick Gay said. “I don’t look at this as I want to beat Claire; I just want our team to play well.”

Nick Gay joked that he personally has nothing to gain by defeating his wife’s team.

“For me, as a husband, in a competitive situation it’s a lose-lose – if I win I lose, if I lose I lose,” he quipped. “But seriously, it is fun going against Claire. She will always have a well-disciplined, well-coached team, and her girls will play hard for her and that’s all you can ask for as a coach.”

Claire Gay looks at the match like well, a coach. She likes that she is familiar with the opposing coach.

“I guess for me, the good thing is I know him, I know his coaching style and his ability as a coach,” she said. “I know he is going to make adjustments and try to play to our weaknesses, and at the same time I will try to play to their weaknesses. At that point, it will be a battle of the brains.”

In the past, the couple’s philosophy after facing each other is to leave the match on the court. The couple are parents to three-year-old twins Emerson and Riggins.

“We are pretty good about leaving what happens on the court out of our home, and we may not talk about the match for a couple of days,” Claire Gay said. “We have the utmost respect for each other as professionals, so we try to just leave it on the court and just be a family when we are at home.”

Although a fun novelty to talk about – and a rarity in high school sports that a husband and wife will face each other in a varsity contest – Nick Gay put the match in its proper perspective.

“It will be a good, competitive atmosphere,” he said, “and it is good for Parker County volleyball, too.”

Aledo freshman setter Avery Weckel sets up a hitter during a recent match. Both the Aledo freshman and junior varsity teams will play Weatherford at 5 p.m. today at Weatherford High School.

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