Graduating six players instrumental in leading a run to the 2009 Class AA state championship, Red Bank looked like a long shot to get back to the state final. Thanks to a hotshot, the Lady Lions did. Senior hitter Kalyn Helton, the only returning starter, led the Chattanooga area with 937 kills and along the way led Red Bank (48-17) to a state-runner-up finish this season. She also totaled 626 digs, 122 aces and 58 blocks. "I knew we were going to have a young team and some girls were going to have to step up," the Tennessee-bound Helton said. "We had a great season. I'm really proud of what we were able to do." Helton's mother, Christel Brooks, is the Lady Lions' coach. Brooks' other daughter, Ansley Helton, is a libero and will be a junior next season. Kalyn said sharing winning the 2009 state title with them created a lifetime memory. "What a joy it was as a parent to watch your child play and excel in a sport," Brooks said. "Being the coach is like a bonus."
Signal Mountain returned every player except one transfer from a team that finished third in the TSSAA Class A tournament in 2009. So when asked before the season about the team's goal for 2010, the third year program's only head coach Jennifer Redman said, "We definitely want to get better than third in the state." As it turned out, they ended up better than second in the state. The Lady Eagles brought home their first state championship when they defeated Region 3 rival and 2009 state champion Boyd-Buchanan in the
title match. Signal Mountain (51-15) won the District 6 regularseason and tournament championships before defeating the Lady Bucs in the region final. The teams had split during the regular season and the Lady Eagles defeated them twice at the state tournament.
"When we beat Boyd-Buchanan the first time, I really think that gave us the confidence we needed," said Redman, who was assisted by Nate Dittrich. "Now it's going to be sad having to say goodbye to a good group of seniors that I had the chance to watch grow and mature."
She sparked the Division II-AA East/Middle winner's defense with 584 digs and served 44 aces.
She led the Lady
Bucs to a second-place state finish in Class A with 888 kills, 900 digs and 250 aces.
The MVP of the Class A state-title match ended up with 677 kills, 570 digs, 92 aces and 55 blocks.
Recovering from knee surgery, she paced her team with 363 kills and also had 51 blocks and 45 aces.
Her 1,002 assists led the area. Adept at faking sets, she added 271 kills and also had 101 aces.
She notched 625 kills for a Class AAA statetournament team and totaled 571 digs and 102 aces.
She topped a 31-13 team with 479 kills, 102 blocks and 86 aces and chipped in 122 digs as well.
TORY KEMP GPS Junior Hitter
JESSICA KIRK Boyd-Buchanan Soph. Libero
KELSEY LOCHSTAMPFOR Chatt. Christian Senior Hitter
REBECCA SCHMITT Baylor Senior Setter
RACHEL SHAUGHNESSY Soddy-Daisy Senior Hitter
TAYLOR SNIPES Chatt. Christian Senior Hitter
RACHEL TRAVIS Baylor Soph. Hitter
1 SIGNAL MOUNTAIN (51-15)
The third-year Class A program won the District 6 and Region 3 tournaments and then won the state tournament.
2 RED BANK (48-17)
Despite graduating six, the Lady Lions were Class AA state runners-up, as well as Region 3 and District 6 champions.
3 BAYLOR (31-13)
The Lady Red Raiders were top-seeded in their region and lost 3-2 to champion Ensworth in a Division II-AA state semfinal.
Photos by John Rawlston and Laura-Chase McGehee. Text by Kelley Smiddie. Layout by Stacey Wysong.