Evangel Christian School claims volleyball title

Evangel Christian School volleyball coach Dan Ellis has had a few days to digest the magical season his Lightning team had on the court this season.

Evangel claimed the Alabama Christian Sports Conference title Oct. 10, but four days later, Ellis and the Lightning were still beaming.

“It was amazing,” Ellis said. “We’re still on cloud nine.”

The Lightning captured the ACSC championship with a 16-25, 25-18, 15-13 win over host Evangel Family Christian School in Montgomery. Evangel Christian defeated New Life and EFCS twice on its way to the title.

The Lightning stormed back after dropping the first set. Ellis said the turnaround had a lot to do with Evangel’s five seniors.

After leading a turnaround from a 3-win season two years ago to a perfect 17-0 campaign in 2009, bringing the Lightning back from a loss in the first set was easy, Ellis said.

“We had five seniors that were really focused on setting high goals for the team and going out strong,” Ellis said. “We did. I’m proud for our seniors.”

Seniors Emily Foster, the ACSC tournament’s most valuable player, and Mary Katherine Sawyer led the way in 2009.

Both Foster and Sawyer were selected for the ACSC all-tournament team Oct. 10.

Fellow seniors Christine Hester, Rachel Letson and Ryan Hopson also provided leadership for the Lightning.

Foster, Sawyer, Hester, Letson and sophomore Allison Ellis were named to the ACSC all-conference team.

In addition to the varsity team’s success, the Evangel junior varsity also won an ACSC title.

The Lightning won the ACSC tournament in their first season as a member of the conference after moving over from the Independent Christian Schools of Alabama and Georgia Conference. It was also Ellis’ first title in his three-year tenure as the head coach at Evangel.

“We never really had a bad game,” said Ellis.