Killing the game: 2023 All-County volleyball teams announced
Published 9:49 am Tuesday, December 12, 2023
By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor
Another phenomenal fall of volleyball is in the books, and the 2023 season was a memorable one to say the least.
Between a pair of Elite 8 runs from Thompson and Spain Park, spirited battles in super regionals involving Pelham, Oak Mountain, Briarwood and Montevallo as well as an incredible year of area play filled with matches to remember for years to come, this year was nothing short of special.
Within each of those teams and more were plenty of deserving players for the 2023 All-County teams. It’s time to put a spotlight on the talented athletes who put on many standout performances and drove their teams to success throughout the season.
Outside Hitter: Chloe Mittelstadt, senior, Thompson. The 2023 Shelby County Player of the Year dominated on the offensive end, earning 458 kills while hitting for +.320. The Honorable Mention All-American was a force around the court with 251 digs, 68 aces and 54 blocks, which helped her also earn an All-State First Team slot.
Outside Hitter: Megan Ingersoll, sophomore, Spain Park. Not only did Ingersoll lead the county in kills, she led all of Class 7A with 536 kills. She also had 286 digs, 57 aces and 30 blocks as the Jags reached the Elite 8 while earning herself an All-State Second Team slot, which means for the second straight season, the sophomore standout is on the All-County First Team.
Outside Hitter: Lauren Buchanan, junior, Chelsea. Buchanan excelled at finishing points for the Hornets, whether she capitalized on her team’s sets or ended it from the service line. She was second in the county with 526 kills and racked up 78 assists, but her impact wasn’t limited to offense. She had 218 digs and 35 blocks as the Texas Tech commit earned All-State First Team and All-Area spots.
Outside Hitter: Camryn McMinn, junior, Pelham. McMinn was a key part of Pelham’s offense once again as one of the most dominant outsides in Class 6A. She racked up 372 kills, 282 digs, 43 aces and 38 blocks to earn an All-State First Team spot during another strong year for Pelham.
Middle Hitter: Kaleigh Hall, junior, Chelsea. If Chelsea’s opponents wanted to send a shot over the net, they had a tough task getting past Hall. She was one of the top blocking threats in the area with 71 while also adding 194 kills on the offensive side and earning an All-State Honorable Mention.
Middle Hitter: Anne Shelby, senior, Thompson. Shelby led the county in blocks with 77 to help prevent the Warriors’ opponents from winning and extending points. She also was an offensive threat as well, earning 152 kills while hitting for +.229, securing an All-State Second Team spot and an Elite 8 run for Thompson.
Setter: Olivia Kelly, senior, Thompson. The Warriors’ first All-American in school history ends her career as one of the best setters in the state of Alabama. After coming close to 1,000 career assists last season, she earned a county-high 1,004 this year alone to power Thompson’s offense. She also added 227 digs, 62 aces and 34 blocks to a resume that earned her All-American Third Team and All-State First Team honors.
Setter: Kylee Hester, junior, Pelham. Hester has continued to impress from the setter spot for the Panthers. She powered the Pelham offense with 917 assists, and her 323 digs were the most among county setters and third-most overall. Hester’s 54 aces also helped the Panthers dominate the service line, another key reason why Pelham reached the second round of regionals.
Setter: Cailyn Kyes, sophomore, Spain Park. Kyes has quickly established herself as one of the fastest rising talents in the county. She racked up 865 assists, including strong performances in the playoffs, 153 digs and was a service-line threat with 52 aces to help the Jags win the area title and reach the Elite 8.
Setter: Cara Belcher, junior, Chelsea. Despite playing in a two-setter rotation, Belcher made the most of the points she played to make an impact all around the court. She recorded 504 assists while taking 111 kills for herself. On defense, she kept key points alive with 225 digs and was a service-line force with 66 aces.
Libero: Stella Helms, senior, Briarwood. Splitting time between right side and libero, Helms’ versatility helped the Lions succeed this season. She hit 1,000 career kills and digs thanks to 330 kills and 345 digs in her senior year as well as 92 aces, leading Briarwood to the super regionals.
Libero: Caroline Jones, senior, Briarwood. The other half of Briarwood’s senior backline duo, Jones led the county with 523 digs to take her over 1,000 for her career. She also recorded 62 aces to impact the Lions in her final season.
Utility: Lauren Schuessler, senior, Oak Mountain. The Eagles’ setter and outside hitter extraordinaire excelled both across the stat sheet and as a leader. She led Oak Mountain in kills with 358, digs with 413 and hitting percentage with a +.250. Schuessler also had 364 assists, 69 aces and 45 blocks while helping the Eagles go undefeated in regular season area play.
Outside Hitter: Addison Dockery, junior, Helena. Dockery racked up 358 kills for the Huskies, and she also chipped in 223 digs to cap off an impressive junior season for an exciting player to watch going forward.
Outside Hitter: Zoe Jones, sophomore, Montevallo. Jones led the county in aces with 107, becoming the only player in the county to record triple-digit aces as just a sophomore. She was also a force at the net with 395 kills and added 171 digs for a strong all-around year.
Outside Hitter: Mabrey Whitehead, senior, Oak Mountain. Whitehead was the first-choice server for the Eagles with a team-high 81 aces, and she also led her team with a 1.96 serve-receive passer rating. Her 316 kills and 284 digs capped off a phenomenal career before she plays beach volleyball at North Alabama.
Outside Hitter: Reagan Gilbert, junior, Spain Park. Gilbert picked up an All-State Honorable Mention as she played a key role in the Jags frontline. She earned 316 kills and 264 digs, but it was her 94 aces that impressed the most, which was tied for second in the county and came at crucial times.
Middle Hitter: Jolian Miller, sophomore, Pelham. Miller provided a perfect mix of offense and defense from the middle of the net. As an underclassman, she earned 185 kills and 70 blocks to come up in key moments for the Panthers.
Middle Hitter: Hunter Jordan, sophomore, Montevallo. Jordan played across the frontline for the Bulldogs, earning 238 kills, 67 digs and 27 blocks as Montevallo reached the second round of super regionals. She will be one of the names to watch going forward as part of the Bulldogs’ foundation both now and in the future.
Setter: Kylie Scoles, junior, Helena. Scoles racked up the assists while directing traffic for the Huskies offense, recording 853 for the fourth-most in the county. She also saved many key points by earning 278 digs, both of which helped her repeat as an All-County selection.
Setter: Emeli Guardado, sophomore, Montevallo. The Bulldogs’ sophomore setter not only helped the offense with 497 assists but also orchestrated many great service runs with 92 aces. Add 146 digs to the mix as well, and that makes for a complete setter who still has plenty of time to grow.
Setter: Mary Kendyl Dojonovic, senior, Chelsea. The other half of Chelsea’s setter duo, Dojonovic wrapped up her Hornets career with an impressive year. She recorded 410 assists while also making an impact on defense and on the serve with 199 digs and 45 aces.
Libero: Kenzly Foote, sophomore, Thompson. Foote had a breakout season where she established herself as the key to Thompson’s backline for years to come. She regularly impressed on defense while earning 454 digs, but she also proved to be a talented server with 65 aces and took 107 kills when rotated to the outside hitter spot.
Libero: Grace Devlin, senior, Spain Park. Devlin kept many a point alive for the Jags in 2023, taking 317 digs on the year, and shut quite a few down before they even started with 30 aces. She capped off a strong Spain Park career with a run to the Elite 8.
Utility: Madison Wood, senior, Shelby County. The heart and soul of the Shelby County Wildcats, Wood elevated her teammates with solid statistical performances and great veteran leadership. While her senior season was cut short, the now three-time All-County player had 119 kills, 221 digs, 183 assists, 28 aces and 15 blocks during two-thirds of the season.
Honorable Mention: Bea Wiggins, Spain Park. Alexa Benda, Spain Park. Hannah Drexel, Thompson. Haylie Deifender, Helena. Lauren Sively, Helena. Ella Southern, Thompson. Marie Jones, Helena. Londyn Wynn, Pelham. Emma Hawkins, Oak Mountain.