Thompson’s Chloe Mittelstadt named Player of the Year

Published 9:37 am Tuesday, December 12, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

Once again, Shelby County was filled to the brim with talented volleyball performances that made a big impact for teams around the area.

Thompson’s Elite 8 team had a pair of deserving All-Americans in setter Olivia Kelly and outside hitter Chloe Mittelstadt, both of whom took over games for the Warriors and powered them to a phenomenal season.

Over at Spain Park, Megan Ingersoll continued her rapid rise towards becoming one of the most lethal outsides in the state, leading Class 7A in kills as just a sophomore and reaching the Elite 8.

In addition, Pelham’s Camryn McMinn put together a phenomenal all-around season to help lead the Panthers to the second round of super regionals.

There were many deserving cases for Player of the Year, but Mittelstadt’s impact on Thompson in her senior season put her over the top as the best player in the county this season.

After the Warriors missed out on making super regionals in 2022, Mittelstadt and her teammates made it their mission to return to the Birmingham CrossPlex for the Elite 8.

They did just that, going undefeated in the area and winning in Super Regionals to reach their destination, and Mittelstadt was a key reason why.

Much of Thompson’s offense flowed through her as she was tasked with finishing off points at the net. It was a lofty challenge, but she proudly took it on and rose to the level of play that was needed of her.

Mittelstadt racked up 458 kills during the season, which was good enough for third-best in the county, but in addition to earning a high kill total, she was efficient with her swings while doing so.

She earned a +.320 hitting average, and her reliability made it easier for coach Judy Green and her teammates out on the floor to trust her with the ball.

However, what makes her stand apart from other outside hitters is her ability to make a difference around the court in different situations.

Mittelstadt recorded 54 blocks at the net as she contributed to a formidable wall up front for the Warriors, but she also wasn’t afraid to dive and make saves on the floor either.

Her 251 digs helped keep key points alive for her team throughout the season and gave herself and her teammates more chances to score and flip the momentum.

In addition, Mittelstadt was a reliable force on the service line, taking 68 aces to win points and keep Thompson on the serve and in control during key runs.

Her influence was evident during games all season, and her consistent success, in particular her eight double-doubles for kills and digs, helped the Warriors achieve their goals as a team.

Mittelstadt’s efforts did not go unnoticed by coaches around the state and even around the country. She was named by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) as an Honorable Mention All-American, joining her teammate Olivia Kelly, who earned a Third Team spot.

In addition, she earned a spot on the All-State First Team for Class 7A, and for the first time in her career, she made the All-County team, taking her place on the First Team.

And next year, she will remain in the state of Alabama to play Division I volleyball for Jacksonville State after signing with the Gamecocks in November.

Her standout season in a year when Thompson needed leaders on the floor to guide them back to the final week of the season set her apart from the rest, and that solidified her case as the 2023 Player of the Year.