Top volleyball players make 2020 All-County Team

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor 

Shelby County has become a hotbed for volleyball talent year in and year out, and the 2020 volleyball season was no different with some of the best players and coaches leading their team through what was a challenging year to complete.

But each did so with passion and hard work, and it led to another strong season on the court for several teams, including special Final Four runs for Spain Park and Thompson, as well as a berth in the championship match for the Jaguars.

It was a storied season for many, who didn’t know if they’d get the chance to compete. But not only did they get that opportunity, they gave it their all and left it all on the floor.

We honor the best from the 2020 season on this year’s All-County Volleyball Team.

Player of the Year: Audrey Rothman, junior, Spain Park.

After her high school playing days, Audrey Rothman will be playing major Division I college volleyball. But the junior at Spain Park is using that talent at the high school level right now to cement herself as one of the state’s best players.

During her junior season, Rothman led the county with 512 kills and 46 blocks, but also added 244 assists, 172 digs and 64 aces. All special numbers that helped take the Jags to a state championship in 2020. That remarkable season was more than enough to earn her the 2020 Shelby County Volleyball Player of the Year award.

Coach of the Year: Kellye Bowen, Spain Park

It was clearly a magical year for the Jaguars, and one that seemed to be years in the making. But to close the season with a run to the state championship match after several years of playoff heartbreak was truly remarkable for the Jaguars, and head coach Kellye Bowen deserves her credit for getting the Jags that far, earning her the title of 2020 Shelby County Coach of the Year.

With so many great coaches in the area, including Judy Green at Thompson, Perry Robinson at Pelham and Jessica Pickett at Chelsea, among others, Bowen’s job didn’t go unnoticed by her players or peers this season. She not only helped the Jags reach the championship match for the first time in school history, but she challenged her team throughout the season, and instead of giving up, they bought in and believed in their head coach. It led to a special run with a young team that will surely be a staple in the playoffs for years to come.

First Team

Outside Hitter: Audrey Rothman, junior, Spain Park. This year’s player of the year totaled 512 kills and 46 blocks to lead the county, while also adding 244 assists, 172 digs and 64 aces.

Outside Hitter: Briana Wilson, junior, Thompson. A candidate for player of the year, Wilson had a special junior season with 333 digs, 314 kills, 62 assists, 45 aces and 17 blocks. 

Outside Hitter: Emma Pohlmann, sophomore, Chelsea. A leader for the Hornets, Pohlman will be a foundation for the next two years after totaling 301 kills, 234 digs and 80 aces this year, which was third on her team and in the county.

Outside Hitter: Elizabeth Hayhurst, junior, Pelham. Pelham’s top player this year, Hayhurst totaled 300 kills, 157 digs, 24 blocks, 17 aces and 14 assists.

Middle Hitter: Amaya Rudolph, senior, Chelsea. An athletic playmaker, Rudolph finished the year with 233 kills, 137 digs and 31 blocks.

Middle Hitter: Hannah Schmuker, senior, Pelham. Schmuker, one of Pelham’s few seniors, totaled 198 kills, 60 aces, 45 blocks, 45 digs and 11 assists.

Middle Hitter: Courtney Proffit, junior, Pelham. Proffit led the Panthers in blocks this season with 49, while also adding 197 kills, 17 digs and eight assists.

Middle Hitter: Brianna Wilson, senior, Helena. Easily one of the best players in the county, Wilson was a leader and a true player in the middle of the floor.

Setter: Lilly Johnson, sophomore, Spain Park. Johnson was one of two players to finish with 576 assists this year to lead the county, while also adding 129 digs and 29 aces.

Setter: Kelsey Tangle, senior, Thompson. One of three players to finish with more than 500 assists in the county, Tangle finished a special career with 547 assists this season. She also added 127 digs, 52 kills and 24 blocks and totaled 1,700 assists in her career.

Setter: Madison Moore, sophomore, Chelsea. With 477 assists, Moore had a strong sophomore season for the Hornets, while also adding 138 digs and 53 aces.

Setter: Shay Walsh, junior, Pelham. Walsh was the other player to finish in a tie for the most assists this season with 576, while she also added 142 digs, 28 aces, 18 kills and nine blocks.

Libero: Brynleigh Glover, senior, Thompson. Glover was remarkable to watch this season and led the county with 362 digs as an anchor of the team.

Second Team

Outside Hitter: Emily Breazeale, sophomore, Spain Park. Breazeale turned up her game in the postseason and has a bright future ahead after totaling 263 kills, 31 digs and 18 blocks. 

Outside Hitter: Landry Frisch, senior, Oak Mountain. One of the Eagles’ best players, she finished with 225 kills, 153 digs, 28 aces, 11 blocks and four assists.

Outside Hitter: Hope Wright, senior, Chelsea. Wright finished second on Chelsea’s team with 273 kills, while also posting 252 digs and finished second in the county with 81 aces. 

Outside Hitter: Caroline Canaday, junior, Thompson. Finished her junior season with 219 kills and 217 digs as a balanced player, while adding 23 aces and 23 blocks.

Middle Hitter: Kaitlyn Grant, sophomore, Thompson. Playing just half of the season, Grant totaled 148 kills and was the difference maker down the stretch to help the Warriors get to the Final Four. 

Middle Hitter: Jayni Thompson, junior, Oak Mountain. She posted 168 kills this year with 41 blocks and 25 digs for the Eagles. 

Middle Hitter: Olivia Jackson, senior, Montevallo. Jackson was Montevallo’s best player this year and won the area tournament MVP award after leading the Bulldogs to the title. 

Setter:  Morgan Martin, junior, Chelsea. With 436 assists, Martin was special this season, while she also totaled 134 digs and 51 aces.

Setter: Madison Wood, freshman, Shelby County. Wood will be a force for many years to come after posting 345 assists and 117 digs this year with 44 kills, 43 aces and 18 blocks. 

Setter: Maddie Rasmussen, senior, Helena. A special senior, Rasmussen was the leader of the Huskies this year and helped them make the postseason.

Setter: Madison Touhey, junior, Thompson. With 364 assists, Touhey set up a lot of big plays, while also posting 143 digs and 37 aces.

Libero: Katelyn Walsh, senior, Spain Park. Walsh totaled 252 digs this season with 63 aces and 43 assists.

Libero: Sydney Jaffe, senior, Oak Mountain. One of just three players with more than 300 digs, Jaffe finished her final year with 335 digs, while also adding 34 assists and 29 aces. 

Defensive specialist: Anna Sartin, junior, Chelsea. Sartin led the county with 82 aces this season, as the top three servers were from Chelsea, while she also added 256 digs.

Honorable mention: Mia Johnson, Helena. Hannah Locks, Montevallo. Riaunna Inabinette, Montevallo. Kathryn Smith, Oak Mountain. Lacee Sheaffer, Oak Mountain. Tammy Melendez, Pelham. Amore Marshall, Pelham. Alyssa Seale, Shelby County. Bella Halyard, Spain Park. Paige Ingersoll, Spain Park. Brooklyn Allison, Spain Park.