Queens of the Court

Oak Mountain senior Samantha Skinner hopes to cap her high school volleyball career with an Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A championship. (File)

Oak Mountain High School senior outside hitter Samantha Skinner hopes to cap her high school volleyball career with an Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A championship.

Skinner, who has made a verbal commitment to the University of Alabama, tops the list of the best high school volleyball players in Shelby County this season. Skinner led Oak Mountain with 498 kills as a junior.

Kingwood Christian School sophomore middle attacker Casey Whitmer hopes to lead the Lions back to the Alabama Independent Schools Association Class 2A Final Four.

Montevallo High School senior outside hitter Amber Cardwell will try to lead the Bulldogs to the AHSAA Class 3A Elite Eight.

Calera High School freshman middle attacker A’Kia Harris hopes to elevate the Eagles’ volleyball program to its first-ever appearance in the AHSAA Class 4A Elite Eight.

Briarwood Christian School senior outside hitter Kate Carter will attempt to lead the Lions to an AHSAA Class 5A title.

These five players hope to rule the volleyball court during the 2010 season. Each of their teams have dreams of a state championship with them leading the way.

2010 Shelby County Volleyball Preview

VINCENT

AHSAA Class 2A, Area 10

Head coach: Stephanie Ledlow

Team roster: Michele Brasher, Letha Burns, Courtney Cleckler, Brooke Denson, Briana Digiorgio, Joleen George, Courtney Holston, Destanie Howard, Randee Isbell, Anna Jackson, Rachel Johnson, Maya Kelley, Joslyn Kelley, Jessie Kimbrell, Jessica Posey, Amber Shaw, Joi Stamps and Bernadette Stamps

Outlook: The Yellow Jackets should be in the mix for an area title with eight varsity letterwinners returning. Vincent will look to an experienced group of five juniors for leadership.

MONTEVALLO

AHSAA Class 3A, Area 7

Head coach: Tena Niven

Team roster: Amber Cardwell, Mallory Anderson, Mary Ann Lee, Kathryn Ray, Alex Bolton, Alisha Glover, Genora Shepard, Breanne Blake, Keshantis King, Josie Martires, Megan Draper, Sarah Hyde, Elizabeth Frederick and McKenna Anderson

Outlook: The Bulldogs, who will also rely on a large group of juniors, are back under the leadership of Niven. Montevallo hopes to make a run at the Elite Eight with seven upperclassmen leading the way.

INDIAN SPRINGS

AHSAA Class 3A, Area 8

Head coach: Christina Tetzlaff

Team roster: Maranda Berry, Kendra Bridgham, Caroline Choy, Sydney Dean, Ambria Hardy, Julia Horn, Khadija Jayfiya, Andrea Mayo, Haley Payton, Julia Pearce, Lauren Plouff, Eleanor Roberts and JiMin Yang

Outlook: Indian Springs features 12 upperclassmen in Tetzlaff’s first season. Indian Springs should be in the running for a playoff spot with an experienced squad.

CALERA

AHSAA Class 4A, Area 6

Head coach: Amanda Lewis

Team roster: Elizabeth Rhinehart, A’Kia Harris, Chassyte Fletcher, Katie Burch, Kellie Rasmussen, Crysten Warren, Courtney Isbell, Amber Sherman and La’Jacqueline Morgan

Outlook: Calera had a record season in Lewis’ first season as coach. The Eagles will likely make a run at the Elite Eight this season with a core group of four upperclassmen returning.

BRIARWOOD CHRISTIAN

AHSAA Class 5A, Area 7

Head coach: Tien Le

Team roster: Sara Kate Bracewell, Katie Briley, Kate Carter, Destiny Farmer, Carly Cline, Logan Nasworthy, Lizzie Baumbach, Claire Carter, Adeline Reiser and Mallory Whitaker

Outlook: Despite the loss of a talented group of players to graduation, the Lions should remain an elite team with Le taking over the program. Briarwood will need leadership from three seniors who played a key role last season.

CHELSEA

AHSAA Class 5A, Area 7

Head coach: Jamie Gill

Team roster: Emily Handley, Sarah Simpson, Lauren Swee, Jesse Vohler, Samantha Colyer, Kacie Craft, Alyson Long, Lauren Hamby, Kelsey Knecht, Courtney Campbell, Chelsea Tyson and Anna McGuire

Outlook: The Hornets flashed plenty of potential last season. Chelsea hopes to be in the race for a playoff spot again in Gill’s first season at the helm with six players with varsity experience returning.

SHELBY COUNTY

AHSAA Class 5A, Area 7

Head coach: Jamie Creekmore

Team roster: Courtney Shields, Kaylyn Billingsley, Jasmyn Buie, Jessica Rasco, Brittani Morris, Kaitlyn Paschall, Dana Lee, Alysia Perkins and Alisha White

Outlook: Shelby County will feature plenty of rookies this season. The Wildcats’ youth will be tested with only one senior on the roster.

OAK MOUNTAIN

AHSAA Class 6A, Area 10

Head coach: Tammy Richardson

Team roster: Hannah Beach, Lauren Dasher, Molly Maddox, Chelsea Payne, Samantha Skinner, Felicia Bailey, Abbi Bourque, Emily Cosgrove, Sara Goodwin, Amanda Marks, Kierson McGrief, Ashton Slawinski and Shayla Williams

Outlook: After a return to the Elite Eight last season, the Eagles hope to compete for a state championship in Richardson’s second season. Oak Mountain is in good shape with six letterwinners returning, including three senior starters.

PELHAM

AHSAA Class 6A, Area 10

Head coach: Haven O’Quinn

Team roster: Dana Allen, Justina Barrow, Julie Bui, Elsa Sims, Sydney Days, Ashley Kate Kepler, Courtney Rawden, Porsha Tolbert, Katie Gustafson, Bradleigh Smith, Haeden Tucker, Alexis Veal and Alison El-Feraly

Outlook: The Panthers must replace a talented group of players lost to graduation in O’Quinn’s first season with the varsity. Pelham will be a young team with only four letterwinners returning.

SPAIN PARK

AHSAA Class 6A, Area 12

Head coach: Paula Dill

Team roster: Natalie Celia, Madison Mulkey, Felicia Naro, Kylie Beaubien, Katie Best, Brooklyn Hall, Sydney Fritz, Kendall Carlis, Mary Grace Drum, McKenna McLain, Michelle Cocke and Mallory Dearing

Outlook: The Jaguars should be a much improved squad with the return of 10 varsity letterwinners, including six seniors. Spain Park should make a run at an area championship this season.

THOMPSON

AHSAA Class 6A, Area 10

Head coach: Ellen Fleisher

Team roster: Rachel McMullen, Haley Davenport, Jade Douglas, Hailey Schatz, Emily Cofer, Liz Hall, Sonia Acosta, Kasie Holcomb, Lauren Richardson and Katie Guiser

Outlook: The Warriors could also be a surprise team this season. Thompson, which features nine upperclassmen on its 10-man roster, could be in the mix for an area championship.

KINGWOOD CHRISTIAN

AISA Class 3A, Region 2

Head coach: John Jones

Team roster: Millie Opper, Kaytlyn Thorson, Autumn Jackson, Karlie Chamblee, Katie McElroy, Emily Tremble, Shelby Cingornelli, Allie Hulon, Casey Whitmer, Blair Holsombeck, Madelyn Pearce and Katie Etheridge

Outlook: The Lions are always a contender for an AISA championship. This season shouldn’t be any different with eight letterwinners returning and Jones in charge.

CORNERSTONE CHRISTIAN

AISA Class 1A, Region 1

Head coach: Cyndi Sims

Team roster: Kailey Goodwin, Kallen Morrison, Paige Paszak, Stephanie Dorough, Olivia Perry, Jana Kelbie Armstrong, Jaclyn Largin, Ashley Malone and Lindsey Sims

Outlook: The Chargers should be much improved with eight of their nine players having previous varsity experience. Cornerstone could be a surprise team this season.

EVANGEL CHRISTIAN

Alabama Christian Sports Conference

Head coach: Dan Ellis

Team roster: Elizabeth Ragland, Mariah Lawrence, Bethany Carter, Allison Ellis, Emily Bahlman, Erica Williams, Kate Foster, Melanie Smith, Rainey Ketcham and Abby Shirer

Outlook: The Lightning return six key players from a championship team last season. Evangel has the pieces in place to win back-to-back ACSC titles.

HOPE CHRISTIAN

Alabama Christian Sports Conference

Head coach: Steve Howe

Team roster: Aubrey Best, Ashleigh Callahan, Teenie Donlin, Kara Frolander, Haley Holmes, Rachel Holmes, Somer Howe, Hannah Lane, Brooke Machen, Melinda Mahan, Hannah Rettig and Kelsey Thompson

Outlook: The Eagles are in good shape with the return of two seniors and six juniors who lettered last season. Hope could be the ACSC championship game opponent for Evangel.