The 49-14 record and third-place finish in the TSSAA Class A state volleyball tournament this year were both season school bests at Sale Creek, which opened in 1973. Now alongside those achievements, the Lady Panthers' program can add their the first two all-state selections.
Erin Hill and Chelsi Roark earned spots in their classification on the Tennessee Sports Writers all-state volleyball teams announced today. Eleven other local athletes are also honored on TSWA all-state volleyball teams.
Sale Creek eclipsed the previous school record for victories by 19 this season and was a five-set loss away from advancing to the state-championship match.
"We had a lot of firsts this year, which is great for our team" Sale Creek coach Debbie Hill said. "For kids that work that hard for it, these are great individual honors."
Coach Hill's daughter Erin, a junior, was chosen as a setter, but was a major contributor in several categories for the Lady Panthers. Roark was second to Hill in kills and aces and led in digs, and her value as one of the team's three seniors was immeasurable.
"She wasn't necessarily a vocal leader, but her volleyball skills and court presence were so great for us this year," Coach Hill said. "When things got a little crazy, she's the one that would calm us down. And she was an anchor on defense. She was huge for us all year."
Like Sale Creek, Soddy-Daisy and Red Bank were third-place finishers, and they were also eliminated in their state tournaments by losing a five-set match. Lady Trojans senior hitters Kelsey Nunley and Rachel Shaughnessy were chosen on the Class AAA all-state team and Red Bank junior hitter Savannah Nelson and sophomore setter Abby Graham were selected in Class AA.
Baylor and GPS also had two players apiece on the Division II team. The state runner-up Lady Red Raiders are represented by net players Nicole Sumida, who will be joining Shaughnessy at Lee University next year, and junior Rachel Travis. The Bruisers' honorees are outside hitter Tory Kemp and setter Sadie Lett, both seniors.
Three other local programs have one representative each. Gardner-Webb signee Callie Hildebrand was chosen in Class AA this season after being a TSWA all-state selection in Class A the previous year when she helped Signal Mountain win a state title.
"It didn't really matter who we played, she always came ready to play," Signal Mountain coach Jennifer Redman said. "She never backed down from anybody. I can still hear her saying, 'Again. Again. Again.' If she got blocked, she wanted to be set again. She'd try a different shot the next time. She wanted the ball."
The others are senior libero Katie Loftin, whose effort sparked third-year Class AA program East Hamilton to its first state-tournament berth, and Class A Silverdale Baptist Academy's Regan Robertson, who recently signed with Bryan College.
Tennessee Sports Writers Association All-State Volleyball Team
Outside hitters-Bella Zizzi, East Robertson; Hannah Grider, Trinity Christian; Kennedy Wade, Grace Christian; Kaitlyn Teeter, Friendship Christian; Ali Burroughs, Friendship Christian; Chelsi Roark, Sale Creek; Courtney Grooms, Summertown.
Middle hitters-Megan Kilburn, Summertown; Morgan Crawley, Grace Christian.
Setters-Kara Crenshaw, Trinity Christian; Emily Owsley, White House-Heritage; Katie Buchanan, Madison; Caroline Graybeal, Berean Christian; Erin Hill, Sale Creek; Reagan Robertson, Silverdale Baptist.
Coach: Randy Alley, Friendship Christian.
Outside hitters-Molly Locke, Page; Katelyn Atkinson, Goodpasture; Brandi Massey, Crockett County; Annsley Poston, Chester County; Teresa Slade, Christian Academy of Knoxville; Haley Payne, Gibbs; Jenna Shaw, South Greene; Callie Hildebrand Signal Mountain.
Middle hitters-Cheyenne Hooper, Christian Academy of Knoxville; Bethany Oglesby, Carter; Savannah Nelson, Red Bank.
Setters-Javan Wilhoit, South Greene; Abby Graham, Red Bank.
Liberos-Cynthia Beene, Chester County; Katie Loftin, East Hamilton.
Coach: Jessica Enderle, Page.
Outside hitters-Stephanie Cerino, Ravenwood; Kat Hutson, Ravenwood; Cody Dodd, Cookeville; Chelsea Ross, Riverdale; Julia Alves, Farragut; Kelsey Nunley, Soddy-Daisy.
Middle hitters-Heather Harvey, Sullivan South; Rachel Shaughnessy Soddy-Daisy; Taneisha Crockett, Hardin Valley
Setters-Alyssa Ivey, Ravenwood; Kayla Hartman, Farragut; Sara Hayek, Anderson County
Liberos-Brianna McCombs, Independence; Reagan Winstead, Hardin Valley; Becca Cutter, Siegel.
Coach: Tracey Berry, Ravenwood.
Outside hitters-ReJean Rouse, Ensworth; Warner Tidwell, Harpeth Hall; Amy Matula, St. George's; Tory Kemp, GPS; Rachel Travis, Baylor; Shelby Anderton, Evangelical Christian.
Middle hitters-Mary Marshall Anderson, St. Cecilia; Nikki Gittens, Ensworth; Maris Kellar, Father Ryan; Nicole Sumida, Baylor; Ashley Thurmond, Davidson Academy.
Setters-Mackenzie Pearson, Knoxville Webb; Sadie Lett, GPS.
Liberos-Megan Hatcher, Knoxville Webb; Kristina Headrick, St. Benedict.
Coach: Emmy McClain, St. George's