MURFREESBORO – One person was missing all state tournament during the TSSAA volleyball championships this week. That changed in one special moment Friday at Siegel High School when legendary Brentwood High School volleyball coach Barbara Campbell returned to the Lady Bruins bench as the Class AAA championship match was getting underway.
It was all the motivation needed and so much more for Brentwood to capture a record-setting eighth consecutive state championship. The Lady Bruins blasted tournament host Siegel 25-7, 25-18, 25-14 to win a 16th state championship – all under coach Campbell, the matriarch of so many years of success and tradition for the state’s greatest volleyball program.
“Seeing her walk in, honestly, that just gave us even more energy and more fire than ever,” Brentwood senior and championship MVP Shaye Eggleston said. “It was just the best feeling and we knew we could do this the right way.”
“It just felt complete,” added fellow Lady Bruins senior Mary Oldham, who fought back tears trying to serve after play was stopped for coach Campbell to take her spot at the end of the Brentwood bench. “Winning this in three and playing such a clean game, I think that just sums this up so well. We were so excited and had the momentum the whole time.
“When we saw Barb, we just knew we had to fight for her.”
The emotional surge powered Brentwood to a decimating finish in the opening set as the Lady Bruins produced a near flawless performance. Brentwood had one attack error and one serve error the entire opening set and used a 12-0 run to take a 16-5 lead. That advantage stretched to 20-6 when Oldham hammered down a kill from the middle on the heels of back-to-back Eggleston kills.
After a Siegel error, the Lady Stars went to outside hitter Taylor Sanders twice only to be robbed by Meredith Moody and Sophie Frohlich digs. Brentwood setter Dylan Sulcer collected Frohlich’s diving dig and sent a ball high to Eggleston on the left side for another kill. Moody followed with an ace – one of 14 for the Lady Bruins in the match – to further punctuate the close as Brentwood dominated from the start.
“It’s really just amazing,” Lady Bruins senior Haley Sanders said. “We did this all together, the entire team, and we did it for Barb.”
Eggleston closed with 21 kills and seven digs, hitting .400 for the match. Sisters Zoe and Mary Oldham combined for 11 more kills. Five Lady Bruins had at least seven digs, including Moody and Frohlich with eight apiece.
Siegel managed just .056 hitting, suffering a sour ending to an otherwise impressive state tournament run. The Lady Stars fell to Maryville in the state opener on Tuesday, but battled back through consolation play, including winning three matches Thursday, for a shot at the title.
Siegel also had saddled Brentwood with its last loss on Sept. 23, a five-set win at home. Not that the Lady Bruins needed any more motivation, but Sanders said that match resonated with Brentwood.
“It was the worst feeling when they beat us on their home court and kind of woke us up, so we knew we had to come in completely confident,” Sanders said. "We weren't going to let that happen again."
Brentwood led from start to finish in the second set and simply cruised the rest of the way. The championship match took just over an hour.
The win checked off a huge goal for Eggleston, an Alabama commitment, who finished her career among the elite hitters in state history with nearly 2,200 kills.
MURFREESBORO – Angie Noble and Cathy Cram have spent the last month steering the Brentwood High School volleyball team. They’ve learned from a…
“I remember coming in as a freshman and having that goal to get a 4-peat like this,” she said. “I mean, Brentwood was coming off of one and that was my goal coming in. To be able to accomplish that this year with the coronavirus and everything else going on, it’s honestly just insane. It feels so good to finish what we started.”
Brentwood absorbed the best shot from opponents all season and managed to come away unscathed from the the tough District 12-AAA despite missing players, including Eggleston, for a stretch of tough matches. After the Siegel loss, just days later, coach Campbell was sidelined after suffering – to put in simple terms without detail – a stroke. The Lady Bruins battled to extend their unbeaten regular season district win streak, capture another Region 6-AAA championship and push on in the state tournament. They dropped just two sets in four matches.
“This is a team I think a lot of the younger girls can look to,” Eggleston said. “We’ll be a good role model group for the younger girls and future teams here. You can’t let the hardships get to you, you can overcome them, too.”
Besides the leadership from the Brentwood seniors, the coaching guidance turned to assistants Angie Noble and Cathy Cram over the last 10 matches for the Lady Bruins and the duo kept the course.
"She has trained us well," Cram said of working with coach Campbell. "I know it just pumped them up more to see their other mom, their queen, to be here. They wanted to win for her."
Noble teamed up with the Campbell family to help make Friday's return possible for coach Campbell.
"That was the movie I had in my head and this is the way it played out," said Noble. "She should be here. She started this whole thing and she needs to be here as it continues."
As for coach Campbell, she was elated.
“I tell you what, it is an incredible feeling,” said the veteran coach, who is in her 33rd season. “I’m very, very fortunate and felt very honored by how this team played.
“It was magical.”
To top to off, coach Campbell welcomed a second grandchild early Saturday morning.
2020 Class AAA State Volleyball Championship
Friday, Oct. 23, 2020 at Siegel High School
Brentwood def. Siegel, 3-0
25-7, 25-18, 25-14
BHS (37-3) – Kills: 43 (Shaye Eggleston 21, Zoe Oldham 6, Mary Oldham 5, Hollye Tate 5, Haley Carpenter 4, Dylan Sulcer, Meredith Moody). Aces: 14 (M. Oldham 5, Moody 3, Sophie Frohlich 2, Eggleston 2, Tate). Assists: 40 (Sulcer 22, Carpenter 7, Sanders 5, Moody 3, Eggleston 2, Tate). Digs: 46 (Moody 8, Frohlich 8, Sanders 7, Sulcer 7, Eggleston 7, Z. Oldham 3, M. Oldham 2, Tate 2, Carpenter, Reese Bailey). Blocks: 3 (Eggleston, Bailey).
SHS (34-7) – Kills: 21 (Brooke Gilleland 8, Taylor Sanders 6, Jaida Clark 5, Isabel Thornton, Cate Schroer). Aces: 1 (June Padilla). Assists – 20 (Laura Howell 17, Thornton, Clark, Padilla). Digs: 35 (Padilla 9, Sanders 7, Ellie Czajkowski 6, Emily Wessner 5, Nialah Gupton 3, Howell 3, Thornton 2). Blocks: 4 (Schroer, Clark).