Pelham’s Slaughter named volleyball Player of the Year

Pelham High School senior Ally Slaughter remembers playing with a volleyball on the side of the court as a young girl, as she dreamed about the day she would be able to wear a uniform and play competitively.

As her high school career came to an end with her signing a college scholarship to play volleyball at UAB, Slaughter wants to be the example for other young girls dreaming about their future volleyball career at Pelham.

Slaughter chose to stay close to home despite multiple scholarship offers from out-of-state schools, just so she could encourage the young girls that play with a volleyball on the sideline during her career at Pelham.

“I wanted to be an inspiration for the young girls who dream to play volleyball,” Slaughter said.

Slaughter’s early start has paid off with an incredible varsity career, where the outside hitter led the Panthers with 498 kills as a senior.

Slaughter’s play earned her the nod as the Shelby County Reporter 2009 Player of the Year.

Slaughter contributed 11.5 kills per match in addition to being a defensive force with 260 digs during the 2009 season. Slaughter was also effective with 106 service aces.

Pelham head coach Kim Kiel said the Panthers fed off Slaughter’s energy.

“Ally is a very emotional player,” Kiel said. “She elevates everybody around her.”

Slaughter chose to stay home and play for UAB after also considering a scholarship offer from Southern Miss. Playing in front of friends and family was Slaughter’s biggest reason for deciding to suit up for the Blazers in 2010.

She’ll also join former Pelham star Whitney Hudson on the UAB roster.

“When I visited there, I knew that’s where I wanted to go,” Slaughter said.

Slaughter has had plenty of highlights during her high school career, including two trips to the Elite Eight in her final three seasons. The Panthers fell just shy of a trip to the Elite Eight with a loss to Grissom in a sub-state match.

“It was a great experience,” Slaughter said. “Not many people get to play in the Elite Eight.”

Slaughter credited Pelham coaches Kiel and assistant Tien Le, as well as her Birmingham Volleyball Club coaches, for helping her reach her volleyball potential.

“Both of them have been awesome,” Slaughter said. “Coach Kiel has been wonderful. Coach Le is just amazing. He knows everything there is to know about volleyball. I couldn’t play for a better coach.”

Richardson named Coach of the Year

Tammy Richardson has accumulated plenty of honors during her high school volleyball coaching career.

The first-year Oak Mountain head coach, who spent 26 years as the Pelham head coach, can add another one to her list — the 2009 Shelby County volleyball Coach of the Year.

Richardson took over a program coming off a season with single-digit wins in 2008 and led the Eagles (36-22) to the Alabama High School Athletic Association Elite Eight in her first season at the school.

Oak Mountain ended the 2009 season with a loss to McGill-Toolen in the Class 6A quarterfinals. The trip to the Elite Eight was Richardson’s 12th as a head coach.

The future is bright for Oak Mountain with Richardson in charge. Richardson, who returns 12 of 14 varsity players next season, said the Oak Mountain community helped her make the transition back into coaching a success.

Richardson, who retired in 2006 following a Hall of Fame career at Pelham, sat out two years before accepting the job at Oak Mountain over the summer.

“I’m amazed,” Richardson said. “The credit goes to the kids and the parents. The kids bought in and the parents bought in.”

Richardson edged Briarwood Christian coach Justin Dee and Calera coach Amanda Heaton for Coach of the Year honors.

Dee led the Lions to the Class 5A Elite Eight in 2009. Briarwood fell to eventual champion Faith Academy in the Class 5A semifinals.

Heaton led the Eagles to their first-ever Class 4A sub-state match, where Calera fell at Alabama Christian Academy.

2009 All-County team

Ally Slaughter, Outside Hitter, Pelham, Sr.

Samantha Skinner, Middle Attacker, Oak Mountain, Jr.

Julia Hoke, Outside Hitter, Briarwood Christian, Sr.

Lauren Rozof, Outside Hitter, Kingwood Christian, Sr.

Kate Carter, Defensive Specialist, Briarwood Christian, Jr.

Lindsey Young, Setter, Pelham, Sr.

Honorable Mention

BRIARWOOD: Susanna McKinney, Elizabeth Reiser, Hannah Waid; CALERA: A’Kia Harris, La’Jacqueline Morgan; CHELSEA: Alexis Kantaris, Jesse Vohler; INDIAN SPRINGS: Andrea Mayo, Julie Shooner; MONTEVALLO: Amber Cardwell, Chloe Jones; OAK MOUNTAIN: Natalie Quinn, Rian Imwalle, Chelsea Payne; PELHAM: Toni Wellborn, Shalita Clark; SHELBY COUNTY: Andrea Corley, Alysia Perkins; SPAIN PARK: Katie Best, McKenna McLain; THOMPSON: Michelle Chase, Candice Powers; VINCENT: Michele Brasher, Bernadette Stamps; KINGWOOD: Whitney Jones, Casey Whitmer; CORNERSTONE: Bethany Webb, Kailey Goodwin; HOPE: Olivia Machen, Terri Moore; EVANGEL: Mary Katherine Sawyer, Emily Foster