Tag Archives: high school volleyball

Summertown, Loretto each place three on all-state team; Summit’s Cherry also named

SM-Tn Sports

A trio of standouts from Summertown’s second consecutive state championship volleyball team was recognized this week as the Tennessee Sports Writers Association named its all-state performers.

Senior outside hitter Miya Cole Brown – the Most Valuable Player in this year’s Class A state tournament – was honored as a member of the Class A team along with junior middle hitter Katie Burdette (last year’s state tourney MVP) and junior setter Caiti Beth Gallagher.

Joining them are three members of the Class A state runner-up squad Loretto – junior middle hitter Karly Weathers, sophomore outside hitter Laney Weathers and sophomore setter Allie Morgan.

Summit senior outside hitter, Destiny Cherry, a Butler University signee, was a Class AAA all-state selection.

The teams for Class AAA, Class AA, Class A and Division II are listed below.

Class AAA

OH — Mattie Arnett, Cookeville, Sr.; Destiny Cherry, Summit, Sr.; Joy Douglass, Cleveland, Sr.; Shaye Eggleston, Brentwood, Sr.; Ashllyn King, Blackman, Sr.; Ainsley Patrick, Oak Ridge, Sr.; Lexi Pendleton, Germantown Houston, So.; MH — Jaida Clark, Siegel, Sr.; Loren Grindstaff, Science Hill, Sr.; Mary Oldham, Brentwood, Sr.; Emma Titus, Station Camp, Sr.; S — Liv Gravatt, Maryville, So.; Rachel McCollum, Collierville, Sr.; LIB — June Padilla, Siegel, Sr.; Haley Sanders, Brentwood, Sr.

Class AA

OH — Hallie Dickens, Macon Co., Sr.; Charley Fulton, Nolensville, Sr.; Morgan McMurray, Anderson Co., Sr.; Meredith Page, Murfreesboro Central, Sr.; Brooke Spurgeon, Murfreesboro Central, Fr.; Nikkayla Stewart, Greeneville, Sr.; MH — Jazmyn Jenkins, Nolensville, Sr.; Matti Rowland, Anderson Co., Sr.; Savanah Pippen, Portland, Sr.; Elaina Vaughan, Sullivan Central, Sr.; S — Jules Aiken, Greeneville, Sr.; Kylie Atchison, Lexington, So.; LIB — Bella Archie, Crockett Co., Jr.; Leah Freeman, Anderson Co., Jr.; Lauren Starcke, Nolensville, Sr.

Class A

OH — Miya Cole Brown, Summertown, Sr.; Morgan Brown, Watertown, Jr.; Hannah Haislip, Halls, Sr.; Ava Higgins, Sale Creek, Fr.; Lillie Morgan, Sale Creek, Sr.; Laney Weathers, Loretto, So.; Addison Williams, South Greene, Jr.; MH — Katie Burdette, Summertown, Jr.; Karly Weathers, Loretto, Jr.; Brookelyn Davis, Watertown, Sr.; S — Caiti Beth Gallaher, Summertown, Jr.; Sydney Gentry, South Greene, Jr.; Allie Morgan, Loretto, So.; LIB — Allison Smith, Sale Creek, Sr.; Alie Tunks, Watertown, Jr.

Division II

OH — McKenna Brown, Notre Dame, Sr.; Lucy Green, Father Ryan, Sr.; Zykia Jones, Briarcrest Chr., Sr.; Elaine Redman, Baylor, Sr.; Annabelle Sulish, Concord Chr., Jr.; Celia Watson, St. Agnes, Sr.; MH — Alexa Austin, The King’s Acad., Sr.; Reagan Carney, Univ. School of Jackson, Sr.; Oliva Jones, Goodpasture, Jr.; Tess Margio, Baylor, Sr.; Grainne McGrath, Knoxville Catholic, Sr.; S — Chloe Bryan, Briarcrest Chr., Sr.; Claire Wilson, Harpeth Hall, Sr.; Kolbie Greene, The King’s Acad., Sr.; LIB — Cassie Kuerschen, Knoxville Catholic, Sr.

2020: This year’s SM-Tn Sports stories that mattered most

As in most years, the 2020 area high school sports landscape was filled with scholarship signings, coaching changes, championship victories – and, oh yeah, a global pandemic that threatened all of it.

Southern Middle Tennessee Sports was on hand to bring it all to our readers.

As we head into 2021, let’s take a quick look back at the 2020 stories that were most significant to you all:

June 8: Palmer leaves Summit for Alabama job

Just a little more than one week after officially taking over at the offensive coordinator at Summit, Justin Palmer informed the school he would be stepping down to take a position in Alabama.

Although not official until a board meeting on Thursday, Palmer has accepted the position of head coach at Class 5A Cordova.

Read more …

June 15: Central football sidelined following positive COVID test

A positive COVID-19 test for a Columbia Central football player has resulted in the suspension of practice until the end of the two-week Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association-mandated dead period, which begins June 22.

Read more …

 “As we know at this time, no other programs are impacted as a result,” Maury County Public Schools athletics director Chris Poynter said Monday in announcing the development. “My heart goes out to the families and to the young man who has it. We’re praying for him, for a speedy recovery, and that no other student-athletes are impacted as a result.”

Aug. 17: TSSAA adds fourth class for basketball, baseball, softball

New classes. Same concerns.

As the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association adapted a four-classification system for Division I basketball, baseball and softball for the 2021-22 and ’22-23 school years during Monday’s Board of Control meeting, the format suddenly didn’t seem to be the remedy to disparity that many had expected.

Read more …

Aug. 25: Loretto’s Lamm headed for state coaches’ hall of fame

Four longtime high school coaches, including Loretto’s Gary Lamm, and two-time national championship coach Tim Corbin comprise the 2020 Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame class.

The five will be inducted at a Jan. 16 ceremony as part of the TBCA annual convention, which will take place at the Cool Springs Marriott in Franklin.

Read more …

Sept. 14: Mt. Pleasant football hit with COVID-19; Cornersville contest postponed

The Mt. Pleasant Tigers’ football team has postponed their upcoming Friday night region game against Cornersville due to a positive COVID-19 test of at least one player.

Mt. Pleasant Athletics Director Eric Hughes confirmed to SM-Tn Sports on Monday afternoon the Tigers would not play on Friday or against Wayne County next Friday night. Practice has also been canceled to allow for a deep cleaning of the football facilities.

Read more …

Oct. 23: ‘It’s gotta be the shoes!’ Class A MVP brings the heat with hits, style

While the video game ‘NBA Jam’ preceded Miya Cole Brown’s birth by a decade or more, the iconic colored shoes of a player who scored three baskets in a row and was deemed ‘on fire’ still resonates through pop culture.

On Friday, the Summertown senior outside hitter was most certainly ‘on fire’ as she led her team to a second straight state volleyball championship, whilst being named the game’s Most Valuable Player.

Read more …

Nov. 8: Summertown’s Mote out as football coach after six years

Summertown principal Lain Hinson confirmed this weekend that Leslie Mote has been dismissed after six seasons as the school’s football coach.

Hinson declined further comment on the move, which ends the tenure of the only varsity coach in the program’s history.

Read more …

Nov. 11: Tears makes it official with Vols, set for national contest

It wasn’t news that Kavares Tears signed a college baseball scholarship Wednesday with the University of Tennessee – the Columbia Academy standout announced his intentions to do so nearly three years ago – but there was news.

The left-handed Tears, who pitches and plays outfield and first base, has been selected to participate in the inaugural Minority Baseball Prospects All-American Game, which will take place Nov. 21 at Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile, Ala.

Read more …

Nov. 20: Bradley relieved of coaching duties at Mt. Pleasant

Bronson Bradley confirmed Friday afternoon that he has been dismissed as football coach at Mt. Pleasant after seven seasons – four of which he guided the Tigers to the state playoffs.

In the midst of a global pandemic, Mt. Pleasant finished 1-8 this fall, the second one-win campaign since Bradley took the helm prior to the 2014 season.

Read more …

Dec. 5: Defense dominates as Summit seals state title

Brady Pierce saw the ball coming the whole way, stepped in front of a Mitchell Gibbons pass and took it 29 yards to the end zone — putting the exclamation point on Summit’s state championship run Friday night as the Spartans won the Class 5A title, defeating Oak Ridge 28-7.

The pick-6, a receiving touchdown, 142 all-purpose yards and six tackles — not to mention a punt that pinned the Wildcats inside their 5-yard line — weren’t enough to garner the game’s Most Valuable Player award, but Summit quarterback Destin Wade knows how much his best friend means to the team.

Read more …

Summertown trio signs college scholarships

SM-Tn Sports

Three Summertown athletes signed national letters of intent Wednesday as the NCAA fall recruiting period officially opened.

Claire Woods, a three-sport athlete for the Lady Eagles, inked a softball scholarship with Middle Tennessee State, while multi-sport classmates Hailey Jones and Kaley Campbell signed with North Alabama and Austin Peay, respectively — Jones for softball, Campbell for golf.

Summertown’s Claire Woods signed a softball scholarship Wednesday with Middle Tennessee State. (Courtesy photo)

Woods, a pitcher/third baseman, joins the Lady Raiders as the top-ranked signee in their fall recruiting class, listed at No. 117 overall in the Extra Inning Softball top 200. She is listed as the 64th-best pitcher in the country in the Extra Elite Player Rankings, making her No. 6 among Conference USA signees and second in Tennessee.

At the time of her verbal commitment, Scout Softball had Woods ranked as the third-best uncommitted pitcher in the nation.

Through three seasons at Summertown High School, Woods has a 1.10 ERA with 307 strikeouts in 255 innings pitched. In addition to her work in the circle, Woods boasts a .459 batting average with 14 homers. She was named All-District Pitcher of the Year as a freshman and District MVP as a sophomore. Woods qualified for the Small Class State Championships in cross country and also lettered in basketball for two years.

“We think she may be the best pitcher we’ve recruited here,” MTSU coach Jeff Breeden said in announcing his recruiting class, which also includes Siegel infielder Claire Czajkowski, Macon County utility player Abby Shoulders and Anyce Harvey, an outfielder from Hewitt-Trussville (Ala.).

“She throws in the mid-60s, and she’s thought in the travel ball circles to be in the top five percent of pitchers in America. We’ll give her an opportunity, and we’ll see how far she can take us.”

Summertown’s Hailey Jones signed a softball scholarship Wednesday with North Alabama. (Courtesy photo)

Jones started as a freshman on Summertown’s 2018 Class A state title team and was a starter on the 2019 team that finished as state runner-up. She’s also been a key performer on the Lady Eagles’ consecutive Class A state championship volleyball teams, and plays basketball as well.

Campbell earned four straight individual and team region golf titles, with Summertown taking home three Small Class state titles during her tenure. She claimed the 2018 Small Class individual title, shooting a two-day 148 to win by six strokes.

Summertown’s Kaley Campbell signed a golf scholarship Wednesday with Austin Peay State University. (Courtesy photo)

On the junior golf circuit, she was the 2019 SNEDS Junior Golf Tour Player of the Year in the Girls age 16-18 category, winning five of seven tour events in which she participated that summer. 

“Kaley is a consistent player that brings a calming presence to those around her,” APSU coach Jessica Combs said. “She never stops grinding on or off the golf course, whether it’s battling an injury or needing to birdie the last hole to win. We are so excited to have her on the team, and I’m looking forward to watching her improve during her time in Clarksville.”

In addition to being a four-time All-State performer on the course, she also helped lead the Lady Eagles to the 2018 Class A softball state title and a runner-up finish in 2019. She was selected as the 2018 Middle Tennessee Class A/Division II Miss Softball by the Tennessee Softball Coaches Association, and was a member of the 2018 Class A basketball state runner-up squad. Following a knee injury that cut her junior season short, she is expected to return to the court this season.

‘It’s gotta be the shoes!’ Class A MVP brings the heat with hits, style

By Chris Yow

MURFREESBORO — While the video game ‘NBA Jam’ preceded Miya Cole Brown’s birth by a decade or more, the iconic colored shoes of a player who scored three baskets in a row and was deemed ‘on fire’ still resonates through pop culture.

On Friday, the Summertown senior outside hitter was most certainly ‘on fire’ as she led her team to a second straight state volleyball championship, whilst being named the game’s Most Valuable Player. 

Her secret to success? It’s gotta be the shoes. Nike shoes mimic the pineapple house where Spongebob Squarepants lived in Bikini Bottom.

OK, maybe it’s not all the shoes, but they definitely set her apart, and, well — that’s the point. Why does she don the unique style on the court?

“Did you notice them? That’s the point,” she said. “I want people to notice me coming on the court and then see me hit.”

Summertown’s Miya Cole Brown (18) celebrates a point with her team on Friday during the Eagles state championship match. (Photo by Chris Yow / SM-Tn Sports)

Her teammates and coach don’t mind the unique sneakers, and that’s probably because Brown backs up her style with her play.

“I love her shoes, they’re cute and fun,” 2019 state championship MVP Katie Burdette said. “Her energy keeps us pumped, and she stepped up to lead.”

Summertown coach Andrea Kelly praised her leadership and effort as well.

“Miya Cole is not only a great player; she has the killer drive attitude,” she said. “I knew when they stepped on the court today, she and the other seniors were going to lead us to victory.”

All business on the court, but bringing a little fun and — sometimes — a few hard high-fives.

“Her high fives are hard,” Burdette said. “Your hands get a little sore, some welts even.”

Brown added, “They say my high-fives hurt worse than getting something smashed on their hand. Sometimes they get a little scared.”

The high-fives are as hard-hitting as her kills on the floor. When she gets a chance, she’s going to put the ball on the ground a lot. In the championship match, she had 12 kills and a 39% kill percentage. 

Do Spongebob shoes make her better? Probably not, but there’s no doubt they will help her leave her legacy on top of Class A volleyball and in a pineapple under the sea.

Summertown nets second straight state volleyball title

By Maurice Patton

MURFREESBORO – Before walking the walk, Miya Cole Brown talked the talk.

“She walked in the (huddle) and said, ‘we’re not going to lose to this team today’,” Summertown coach Andrea Kelly said of her senior outside hitter, who made sure that was not the case Friday as the Lady Eagles successfully defended their 2019 Class A volleyball state championship with a straight-sets victory over Lawrence County rival Loretto.

The win (25-9, 25-13, 25-12) was the seventh in as many meetings for Summertown against Loretto, which won the 2018 state title.

And just as Brown was pivotal in the Lady Eagles’ winners bracket final victory on Thursday against the Lady Mustangs, her intensity and her performance were both crucial in Friday’s outcome.

“I knew for our team to compete and win, it was my job to keep us excited,” said Brown, who was named Most Valuable Player of the state tournament as her team completed a 35-4 season. “Volleyball is a momentum sport. I’m very loud. That’s my job – to stay loud, stay excited.”

Members of the Summertown volleyball team pose with their 2020 Class A state championship trophy, the second in as many seasons for the program. (Photo by Chris Yow / SM-Tn Sports)

It wasn’t just a rah-rah effort for Brown, though. She and junior middle hitter Katie Burdette, the 2019 tourney MVP, were a 1-2 punch at the net that overcame Loretto after the Lady Mustangs (29-12) extended Thursday’s contest to five games.

“They were definitely trying to defend Katie,” Brown said. “But they knew I played well against them. (Friday) they dug a lot of balls, blocked me a few times.”

Loretto’s defense wasn’t quite as sharp Friday as it was Thursday, though – in part because after playing five games against Summertown, the Lady Mustangs went five in the losers bracket finals later that night against Sale Creek.

“You could tell the fatigue was there,” fourth-year Loretto coach Nick Quillen said. “When you play two five-set matches (that were) as intense as we played, you expect that. We were banking on digging deep to overcome it.

“Earlier in the season, with zero seniors, we knew that our young age was going to take hold. It reared its ugly head (Friday). We just weren’t mentally there.”

Brown scored a series of service points early in the initial game en route to the victory, quickly backing up her comments to her teammates.

“We knew every point we had to play like it was our last, and we did that,” Kelly said. “I’m so proud of the girls.”

The MVP and the coach agreed that the second state title has a different feel than the first – though possibly for different reasons.

“Last year was the first time, but (this year) we had a target on our back. To prove ‘them’ wrong is awesome,” Brown said.

“I’ve always said, every sport we play (Loretto), it’s important that we win,” Kelly said. “Nick’s a great coach; we’re friends. But in that moment, that’s all that matters.

“It’s do or die when we play Loretto.”

Summertown survives five-set scare, advances to state finals

By Maurice Patton

MURFREESBORO — Summertown adjusted to Loretto’s adjustments and returned to the Class A volleyball state tournament championship game with a five-set victory in Thursday’s winners bracket final at Stewarts Creek High School.

The Lady Eagles (34-4) will play for their second consecutive title at 10 a.m. Friday morning at Siegel High School, as they will face Loretto yet again

“Loretto played amazing,” Summertown coach Andrea Kelly said. “This was the sixth time we’ve played, and they’ve gotten better and better every time we’ve played. They wanted it more than we did in (Games 3 and 4).

“We squeezed that one out.”

With five previous wins in as many meetings thus far this season, Summertown got off to another strong start Thursday against its Lawrence County and District 11-A rival, as Miya Cole Brown recorded eight straight service points to overcome an early deficit en route to a 25-11 victory in the opening set.

Loretto (28-11) narrowed the margin in the second set, leading 9-6 early before falling 25-20.

The Lady Mustangs found some momentum, though, controlling the action in an eventual 26-24 third set.

“We had to adjust on a couple of thier bigger hitters,” Loretto coach Nick Quillen said, referring to Katie Burdette in the middle and Brown on the outside. “After that, it’s about who can hustle more, who can scrap more and make the fewer errors.”

The defensive tweaks helped Loretto to a 25-17 win to force the decisive fifth set.

And as Brown helped spark things early, she did so again late.

Summertown‘s 15-9 win in the fifth set against Loretto sealed a berth in Friday’s Class A state championship game. (Video by Maurice Patton)

“They were ‘single-blocking’ on us,” Kelly said. “Miya Cole happens to be the one out there. She’s been playing amazing the last two weeks. We told our setter, feed her until they put another blocker up there.

“Katie, what she gave us most was her blocking. They were blocking her on offense; she had to adjust her hits.”

Brown finished with a team-high 23 kills, with Burdette — last year’s tournament MVP — adding 21.

“At the region tournament, they changed their game plan and adjusted to the middle, with Katie in there,” Brown said. “I knew I had to pull through. As a senior, as team captain, I felt that was my role.”

Sale Creek defeated Watertown in five games to advance to Thursday’s losers bracket final Loretto. The Lady Mustangs went five games for the second time before claiming their title game berth.

“Every time we’ve played them, we’ve pushed them a little more,” Quillen said of Summertown. “We just couldn’t finish at the end. We’ve got to jump on them a little quicker and finish strong at the end.”