2008 Shelby County Volleyball

It’s not just a goal, it’s something they feel like they deserve.

“It’s been a disappointment every time, and now we’re going to win it,” Pelham junior setter Lindsey Young said. “We’re not taking anything but state.”

The Pelham Panthers have been a perennial fixture in the AHSAA state tournament at the Pelham Civic Complex and now look to keep the championship trophy in the city for the first time since 1997.

“Everybody who knows us knows that anything short of that will be a disappointment,” coach Tien Li said.

Leading the way for the Panthers this year will be senior Whitney Billings, who has committed to the University of Kentucky, but three other girls are the driving force of the team as captains.

Seniors Whitney Hudson and Amanda Rowland, along with Young, are setting the tone for the Panthers on and off the court. It begins with Rolen at libero, then Young at setter and Hudson on the front line.

“If I get a good pass, and if I get a decent set, they’re going to put it down,” Young said of Billings, Hudson and returners Aly Slaughter and Jasmine Clark.

Hudson believes the secret to success this year is to eliminate the unforced errors that cost them in the state tournament last October.

“We beat ourselves,” Hudson said. “Basically, we’re more disciplined and mentally tough as a team.”

TEAM BY TEAM

BRIARWOOD

AHSAA Class 5A, Area 8

Head coach: Justin Dee

Roster: Sara Kate Bracewell, Katie Briley, Kathryn Byars, Kate Carter, Amy Hale, Andrea Hard, Julie Hoke, Suzanna McKinney, Logan Nasworthy, Lauren Parks, Elizabeth Reiser, Kit Stallings and Hannah Waid

Season Outlook: Runner-up in Class 5A last year, Briarwood returns most of its starters and is three-deep at every position. A solid front line will help the Lions execute their offense.

CALERA

AHSAA Class 4A, Area 7

Head coach: Amanda Heaton

Roster: Kawanna Brickler, Katie Burch, Katelyn Dean, Chassyte Fletcher, Jasmin Holloway, Courtney Isbell, Elise Mikell, La’Jacqueline Morgan, Juanna Nixon, Reischa Parker, Christine Ponte and Kellie Rasmussen

Season Outlook: A young team has made great strides in the first weeks of fall and will look to improve under the direction of new head coach Amanda Heaton, a former coach at the University of West Alabama.

CHELSEA

AHSAA Class 5A, Area 8

Head coach: Donnie Teague

Roster: Lizzy Altsman, Breanna Champion, Mieke Groothuizen, Renee Groothuizen, Jenny Gugliotta, Kim Halfacre, Emily Handley, Alexis Kantaris, Blair Scott, Rebecca Simpson, Lauren Swee and Branden Thacker

Season Outlook: The Hornets will be challenged this season, moving into one of the strongest areas in the state with Briarwood and John Carroll.

CORNERSTONE

AISA Class 1A, Region 2

Head coach: Jennifer Snyder

Roster: Ashtyn Armstrong, Stephanie Dorough, Hailey Hall, Jaclyn Largin, Ashley Malone, Paige Paszsak, Olivia Perry, Rachel Stefkovich and Bethany Webb

Season Outlook: Only one starter returns for the Chargers. A young group, Cornerstone will be forced to play as a team to collect wins.

EVANGEL

Independent Christian Schools of Ga.-Ala.

Head coach: Karin Payne

Roster: Denise Britton, Bethany Carter, Emily Foster, Kate Foster, Christine Hester, Katie Hester, Rachel Letson, Lauren Payne and Mary Katherine Sawyer

Season Outlook: The Lightning will look to rely on the senior leadership of Denise Britton, Katie Hester and Lauren Payne to set the tone for the team.

HOPE

Alabama Christian Schools Conference

Head coaches: Steve and Lydia Howe

Roster: Sarah Baxter, Kayleigh Casadaban, Devin Douglas, Somer Howe, Carissa King, Olivia Machen, Terri Moore, Colleen Thompson and Kaity Wright

Season Outlook: Hope looks to build off its 7-5 record from last year with the help of some new players. Captain Devon Douglas is recovering from an ACL injury and will be used mainly as a server.

INDIAN SPRINGS

AHSAA Class 3A, Area 9

Head coach: Pam Abernathy

Roster: Elizabeth Barr, Rebecca Barr, Maranda Berry, Julia Horn, Adair Martin, Andrea Mayo, Michelle Rezonzew, Tullia Rushton, Julia Shooner and Stephanie Shooner

Season Outlook: Tullia Rushton will move to setter this season, while Springs will look to rely on Rebecca Barr and Andrea Mayo for their hitting up front.

KINGWOOD

AISA Class 2A, Region 2

Head coach: John Jones

Roster: Serina Bourassa, Karley Chamblee, Bailey Daniel, Rachel Holsombeck, Heather Matzke, Katie McKelroy, Millie Opper, Emily Reider, Lauren Rozof, Katelyn Torson and Casey Whitmer

Season Outlook: The Lions return four players off last year’s team that went deep in the state tournament and compiled a 27-7 record.

MONTEVALLO

AHSAA Class 3A, Area 6

Head coach: Tena Niven

Roster: Hope Anderson, Mallory Anderson, Katie Bitz, Brittney Bristow, Amber Cardwell, Darcey Corona, Rebecca Gewalt, Cloe Jones, Kayla Landefeld,Anna Nix, Seqouia Peoples, Katherine Ray and Kelli Ray

Season Outlook: Montevallo is coming off a historic trip to the state tournament in Pelham but will need to work hard to get back to where it was last year with only two starters returning in Hope Anderson and Brittney Bristow.

OAK MOUNTAIN

AHSAA Class 6A, Area 10

Head coach: Tai Bondman

Roster: Katey Anderson, Jessica Cooley, Lauren Dash, Ellen D’Esposito, Caylee Griner, Liz Henderson, Chelsea Payne, Caitlin Perry, Sam Skinner, Marisa Tomaszewski, Erica Vatella, Devin Von Pingel and Shay Wilcox

Season Outlook: Under the direction of a new head coach the Eagles will look to rely on the leadership of its five seniors and talented juniors to challenge opponents in Area 10.

PELHAM

AHSAA Class 6A, Area 11

Head coach: Kim Kiel

Roster: Whitney Billings, Jasmine Clark, Shalita Clark, Danielle Gissendanner, Whitney Hudson, Kayla Mckeen, Mary Ross, Amanda Rowland, Shelby Shimel, Elsa Sims, Olivia Sims, Aly Slaughter, Tori Welborn and Lindsey Young

Season Outlook: Pelham returns its entire starting lineup and is the team to beat in Class 6A. Pelham has some of the state’s top college prospects.

SHELBY ACADEMY

AISA Class 1A, Region 2

Head coach: Amanda Price

Roster: Leah Abney, Karli Broadhead, Trista Burks, Allie Clayton, Tori Clayton, Tabi Dailey, Elizabeth Fraizer, Darcey Haggan, Ashley Thompson and Caitlyn Wilke

Season Outlook: In their second year of a program, the Raiders are starting over from scratch. With three seniors, the team is mainly junior highers playing for the love of the game, as they learn its skills.

SHELBY COUNTY

AHSAA Class 5A, Area 7

Head coach: Jamie Creekmore

Roster: Samantha Adams, Kaylan Billingsley, Meagan Billingsley, Kira Chaudhry, Andrea Corley, Kristen Hyatt, Dana Lee, Danitra Lee, Brittani Morris, Savannah Nolan, Alysia Perkins, Brooklynn Phillips, Jessica Rasco, Mallory Seale, Taylor Shaw, Courtney Shields and Caitlin Wallace

Season Outlook: With a mix of veterans and newcomers, the Wildcats have the opportunity to reach the playoffs with Chelsea moving out of its area.

SPAIN PARK

AHSAA Class 6A, Area 10

Head coach: Paula Dill

Roster: Katie Best, Laura Betters, Kendall Carlis, Paige Cheney, Selena DaCosta, Mary Grace Drum, Meredith Filippini, Kristen Gue, Haley Hensely, Meredith Jones, Emily McDougal, Mallory Morgan, Allie O’Neil and Kelsey Williams

Season Outlook: Head coach Paula Dill expects this to be the year that Spain Park proves a lot of teams wrong. With seven seniors on the team, Dill expects the team’s hard work to turn into wins on the court.

THOMPSON

AHSAA Class 6A, Area 11

Head coach: Ellen Fleisher

Roster: Michelle Chase, Shaylin Gerhring, Stephanie Giddens, Lainie Hoiland, Candice Powers, Rebekah Raymond, Hailey Schatz, Leah Smith, Lauren Sprouse and Kim Wilson

Season Outlook: Thompson will look to Rebekah Raymond as one of its main leaders this season under the direction of new head coach Ellen Fleisher.

VINCENT

AHSAA Class 2A, Area 7

Head coach: Stephanie Ledlow

Roster: Kiara Cohill, Niesha Dates, Randee Isbell, Shavon Keller, Jessie Kimbrel, Jessica Posey, Amber Shaw and Latoya Traylor

Season Outlook: Vincent’s volleyball program is on the rise in terms of turnout. With three teams this year, it means later practice, but team leaders such as Shavon Keller, Amber Shaw and Kiara Cohill are looking to carry the team.