MURFREESBORO – For two seasons five players have guided the Nolensville High School volleyball team. On Friday, they closed their high school careers by going out on top as seniors in the Class AA state championship, leading the Lady Knights to a second consecutive title.
“Us five seniors, the ‘Fab Five,’ we all play big roles and it’s just crazy to think what we have accomplished,” Nolensville senior and championship MVP Lauren Starcke said. “It’s hard to put into words. A second state championship. It’s incredible.”
Nolensville clinched the title with a 25-19, 25-15, 20-25, 25-19 win over Anderson County at Siegel High School. The Lady Knights closed with a 37-4 record, perfect in Class AA competition.
“It’s just an unreal feeling,” said Charley Fulton, another member of the Fab Five. “I have so much happiness for us even though this is bittersweet since we are seniors. I wouldn’t trade this for the world.”
With the Fab Five of Fulton, Starcke, middles Caymin Ladd and Jazmyn Jenkins and setter Avery Patton setting the tone, the Nolensville girls powered past Anderson County for the second time in as many days and overcame their first let down in eight matches when the Lady Mavericks found some momentum to take a set from the defending champs, but that’s all they could muster.
“Anderson County is a tough and scrappy team and they were emotional feisty,” Nolensville coach Brett Young said. “At the same time, as I told the girls at our last practice on Monday, and I told them again before we stepped on the court today and I told them again after, this is the best team I have ever coached.
“I’ve coached for 25 years and I’ve coached in lots of different sports and I’ve had some great players on some great teams that I really, really love, but just being genuinely honest, this is the best team I have ever coached.”
Starcke was the glue once again in the final and just like last year’s state championship performance where she collected a career-high 39 digs, Starcke saved her best for last again by combing the back row for a season-high 32 digs as the Nolensville defense limited Anderson County to .063 hitting. Both Avery Young (11 digs) and Fulton (10 digs) added to the big defensive showing, while Jenkins and Ladd led the way in the middle as the Lady Knights came up with eight blocks.
Offensively, it was balance again for Nolensville.
Jenkins closed with 12 kills, Maggie Rickert added 11, Fulton hit for nine and both Ladd and Young recorded eight kills – all five had at least 21 attacks. Patton dished out 25 assists and Caroline Johnston tacked on 16 more.
Four Lady Knights managed more than 30 kills in the four state matches, including Fulton’s team-high 40.
The senior also made sure her team had that little extra touch of luck, especially in the final set after Anderson County rode the swings from Morgan McMurray (16 kills) and Mattison Rowland (12 kills) to force a fourth game.
All season Fulton has periodically bent down to tap the floor, knocking on wood for luck. She performed the quick ritual a bit more late in the match Friday.
“I don’t know why it’s happened, but for a split second if I think of it and I don’t knock on wood and we lose the point, it will be my fault, so I just have to,” Fulton said. “You have to keep the luck going.”
Nolensville opened up a 17-9 lead in the fourth only to watch the Lady Mavericks battle back with four straight points capped by a McMurray kill to pull within 17-13. After the next serve, Patton went to Ladd on back-to-back sets with Ladd putting away a momentum-stealing kill on the second attack. The lead was pushed back to five, and with a couple knocks on woods, never dipped lower the rest of the way. Jenkins closed the match with a similar hit to Ladd’s from the middle as the Lady Knights rushed the court in celebration.
“It’s just an unbelievable feeling,” coach Young said. “This group for two years, they just did things for each other and when you do that, you give yourself a chance to be special and that’s exactly what they are, a special bunch of kids.”
2020 Class AA State Volleyball Championship
Friday, Oct. 23, 2020 at Siegel High School
Nolensville def. Anderson County, 3-1
25-19, 25-15, 20-25, 25-19
ACHS (35-8) – Kills: 38 (Morgan McMurray 16, Mattison Rowland 12, Kelsey Marlow 4, Erin Cantrell 3, Jayce Braden 2, Bailey Wilder 1). Aces: 2 (Cantrell 2). Assists: 36 (Marlow 29, Cantrell 5, Leah Freeman, McMurray). Digs: 73 (Freeman 25, Cantrell 16, Marlow 10, McMurray 9, Rowland 5, Braden 4, Anna Smith 2, Emily Varner, Wilder). Blocks: 5 (Marlow, Rowland).
NHS (37-4) – Kills: 50 (Jazmyn Jenkins 12, Maggie Rickert 11, Charley Fulton 9, Avery Young 8, Caymin Ladd 8, Caroline Johnston 2). Aces: 9 (Avery Patton 3, Lauren Starcke 2, Maymie Guthrie 2, Ellie Tant, Young). Assists: 47 (Patton 25, Johnston 16, Starcke 3, Guthrie, Fulton, Young). Digs: 70 (Starcke 32, Young 11, Fulton 10, Guthrie 7, Johnston 3, Rickert 2, Patton 2, Ladd). Blocks: 8 (Ladd 2, Rickert 2).
2020 Class AA State Volleyball Tournament
Nolensville def. Anderson County, 25-19, 25-15, 20-25, 25-19, Championship
MURFREESBORO – For the second season in a row, the Nolensville High School volleyball team w…
Greeneville def. Crockett County, 15-25, 25-12, 25-19, 25-20, loser out
Murfreesboro Central def. East Hamilton, 25-17, 25-18, 25-17, loser out
Nolensville def. Anderson County, 25-13, 25-18, 25-15
Murfreesboro Central def. Greeneville, 28-26, 25-17, 25-23, loser out
Anderson County def. Murfreesboro Central, 25-17, 32-30, 25-17, loser out
MURFREESBORO – Balance has been one of the biggest strengths for the Nolensville High School…
Anderson County def. Murfreesboro Central, 22-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-23
Nolensville def. Crockett County, 25-12, 25-10, 25-14
Greeneville def. Covington, 25-19, 25-12, 25-18, loser out
East Hamilton def. Signal Mountain, 25-13, 25-23, 25-19, loser out
MURFREESBORO – Last season the Nolensville High School volleyball team entered the state tou…
Anderson County def. Greeneville, 25-20, 25-20, 25-16
Murfreesboro Central vs. Covington, 25-23, 25-9, 25-12
Nolensville def. Signal Mountain, 25-8, 25-8, 25-17
Crocket County def. East Hamilton, 20-25, 25-14, 25-15, 25-21