All-county spotlight moves on to volleyball
This week, the “Keep Pounding” all-county spotlight moves to volleyball, with only six spots to recognize among the county prep schools.
Below is this column’s annual list of the best six volleyball players in the county, according to this sportswriter. There are two spots for outside hitters, one for a middle hitter/blocker, one for setter, one for libero and one for defensive specialist.
Selections were made based on a combination of individual statistics, strength of competition, team success and sportsmanship.
Here is the final list: outside hitters Gracie D’Amico of Croatan and Abby Scudder of West Carteret, middle hitter Kelly Hagerty and libero Cammie Davis of Croatan, and setter Allison Johnson and defensive specialist Courtney Tyndall of West.
Below is a brief breakdown of why each player was selected. As a note, all statistics are current through Wednesday.
Starting on the outside, no one in the county has better offensive numbers than Scudder. The senior is one of the last vestiges of a dominant run of West statistical knockouts, helping it capture five of the last six 3A Coastal Conference championships. This fall, Scudder tallied a county-high 326 kills, along with 40 serving aces, eight blocks and 125 digs.
On the other side, D’Amico is part of a very strong senior class for the Cougars that allowed them to finish the regular season 19-2 with a second straight 1A/2A Coastal 8 Conference. D’Amico has had to compete with a handful of other stellar hitters while still tallying 133 kills, 58 aces, 3.5 blocks and 131 digs this season.
The most dominant middle hitter in the county this season, Hagerty is a monster at the net for Croatan. The 6-foot senior has terrorized opposing defenses this fall with 181 kills, 18 aces, 30.5 blocks and nine digs.
West’s stalwarts have put up gaudy numbers this season, and Johnson is no different at setter. Distributing passes to an array of solid hitters, Johnson has an eye-popping 598 assists this season, along with 23 kills, 37 aces, eight blocks and 110 digs.
Libero was a tough position to peg for this list. West’s Meade Varner is a solid option, but I ultimately went with Davis for a couple of reasons. Only a freshman, she inherited her role when a spot opened up at Croatan a few weeks into the season. Already a jayvee star, Davis stepped in and never missed a beat as the Cougars’ best defensive option. She has tallied 231 digs, 32 aces and 26 assists as the starter for 16 matches.
OK, Tyndall probably isn’t best represented as a “defensive specialist,” but she’s the best all-around spiker in the county not already listed. Listed as an outside hitter, the sophomore ranks second on her team in kills with 149 and fourth in blocks with 15. However, she also has 139 digs and 86 assists as she makes her impact felt all around the court.
(Send comments or questions to email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @zacknally)