Coming into the 2019 season, Owensboro Catholic High School's Cassidy Towery was listed among 129 athletes across the state on the first-ever Kentucky Volleyball Coaches Association Preseason Watch List.
The Lady Aces' senior was the only area player that made the list, which was compiled of athletes who are expected to be considered for all-state accolades by the end of the year.
By all accounts, Towery has lived up to her billing.
"This year is a complete turnaround from last year," OCHS coach Brian Hardison said of Towery. "She was a good player last year, but she is definitely more of a team player this year. She brings a whole lot to the game because she has such great awareness.
"She knows when to bring the heat and when to place the ball."
Through 12 games, Towery leads Catholic with 108 kills, along with a team-best 32 service aces. Showing her versatility, the 5-foot-9 outside hitter is second among the Lady Aces in blocks (16), assists (55) and digs (27).
She can play every position on the floor and even served as Catholic's setter during the Apollo Summer Slam tournament to begin the year.
Despite what she's accomplished this season and during her career, Towery was caught off guard by the notoriety she received during the preseason.
"I was definitely surprised," she said. "My mom sent me the link, and I was like, 'Holy cow.' No one else in the region was on it. It was definitely a surprise to me."
With the time she dedicates to honing her craft, however, Towery is looking for bigger and better things in 2019.
"I've been working really hard in practice to improve my hitting," said Towery, who started playing in the third grade. "I'm trying to be more consistent and fix the things that I need to work on."
Towery, one of the Lady Aces' captains alongside Isabelle Wright and Cecilia Clemens, has also spent time on the travel ball circuit with Louisville-area teams. As a sophomore at OCHS, she would leave school early twice a week and be away from home every weekend, traveling as far as Salt Lake City and across the country.
However, she admitted, it was more of a learning experience from the bench than anything else.
"It was the most humbling experience I've ever had," she said. "I was the underdog. I didn't get to play that much, but I grew into a bigger person, inside and out of volleyball."
Once her high school days are over, Towery hopes she can translate her volleyball talents into a long playing career in college.
Before that, though, nothing would cap off her senior season better than helping he Lady Aces reach the KHSAA state tournament.
"I think we have a lot of really good teams in our region and our district, so it will really be a challenge," she said. "But our team works well together. We're all really good friends and super close, so I think we can do it."