Volleyball countyís best kept secret
By Joe Williams, Sports Editor
The athletic reputation of Williamson County is usually based on the success of football, baseball and softball teams. And the success has been impressive.
But it can’t touch volleyball.
In the last ten years, Brentwood (3), Ravenwood (3), Page (3) and Independence (1) have brought home state championship trophies. In four of those tournaments, the finals were all-Williamson County events. Those numbers don’t include the four runner-up finishes in ten years, nor Brentwood’s five additional titles going back to 1998 or Page’s three previous titles from 2000-2002.
This year should be no different, especially in the ultra-competitive District 11-AAA, where it is consider to be tougher to get out of the district and region than it is to get to the finals of the state tournament.
“Of course we would like to be at state again,” says defending champion Ravenwood’s head coach Tracey Berry. “But we know we have extremely talented teams in our district to get past first.”
The Lady Raptors return seven seniors to a team that includes last year’s state tourney MVP Kat Hutson and district tourney MVP Payton Logan. Taylor Briggs is the leader of the team, while Emily Svennevick, Santanna Patterson, Lauren DuPont and Kelsey Sharber round out the senior class.
Across the way at Brentwood, Coach Barbara Campbell’s legacy continues. Spending 25 of her 30 years at Brentwood, Campbell’s 1375-274 record and 17 top three state tournament finishes, including 8 state titles, is unmatched in the state.
And like any good coach, she wants more.
“Our goals are set on another state championship run—and of course a state championship,” Campbell says with a smile. “We have a solid team with great desire and great team chemistry.”
Campbell will be relying on her own set of seniors for the run. Setter Hunter Thompson had 1,216 assists last year and leads a list that includes Sarah Tuttle, Piper Cleveland and Kelly Severino. Juniors Samantha Cotton and Ashley West, along with sophomores Liz Schwarz and Kaelia Massey are also on the coach’s watch list, as is Oklahoma transfer Jenny Roy.
Observers expect another Brentwood-Ravenwood battle for the top spot in District 11-AAA, with Centennial playing a spoiler. Independence is another potential challenger and is anxious to add a second state title, and Franklin, while always very solid, is currently a bit of a mystery in the mix.
At Fairview, the Yellow Jackets are treading in unknown waters, having moved from District 12-AA to District 11-AA. Despite the change, Coach Curtis Putnam is expecting big things.
“I am expecting big things from three seniors, Abbey Frazier, Bailey Jones and setter Ashley Mangrum. I’m also expecting the same from junior Heidi Job.”
Creek Wood is the early favorite in the district, but Fairview, Hickman County and Lewis County are considered strong challengers in the new district make up.
The volleyball season begins Saturday with the annual Brentwood Blast-off Tournament Saturday at the A-Game Sportsplex in Cool Springs. Host Brentwood and rivals Ravenwood, Centennial and Independence lead a local contingent in the event.
Posted on: 8/14/2013