Sunday, August 25, 2013

How the Elite 8 fared in Week 1

The Jackson Sun covers 13 counties in West Tennessee – Madison, Gibson, Carroll, Crockett, Hardin, McNairy, Hardeman, Haywood, Benton, Weakley, Henderson, Chester and Decatur Counties.

If you see a discrepancy, please email me at

For my look at how the volleyball district will look, check out

1. Crockett County (13-AA) (2-5) – Beat Halls 3-2; Beat Arlington 3-0; Lost to White Station 2-0; Lost to Ravenwood 2-0; Lost to Harding Academy 2-0; Lost to St. Benedict 2-0; Lost to  Harpeth Hall 2-1

2. Madison (15-A) (4-2) – Beat Brighton 3-0; Beat South Side 3-2; Lost to Dyersburg 3-0; Lost to TCA 2-1; Beat Lexington 2-0; Beat Middleton 2-0

3. USJ (D2-A) (3-4) – Lost to St. George’s 3-0; Beat TCA 3-2; Beat Hutchison; Lost to Hume-Fogg; Beat St. George’s; Lost to Siegel; Lost to Germantown

4. TCA (15-A) (5-1) – Lost to USJ 3-2; Beat Madison 2-1; Beat Middleton 2-0; Beat Lexington 2-0; Beat Chester County 2-0; Beat Dyer County 2-0

5. South Side (14-AA) (5-3) – Beat Camden Christian 3-0; Lost to Dyersburg 3-0; Lost to Madison 3-2; Beat Trenton Peabody 3-0; Beat South Gibson 2-1; Beat Scotts Hill 2-0; Beat Christian Home Education 2-1; Lost to Dyer County 2-0

6. Chester County (14-AA) (4-2) – Lost to Dyersburg 3-0; Beat Fayette Academy 3-0; Beat Scotts Hill 3-0; Beat Milan 2-0; Beat Crowley’s Ridge (Ark.) 2-0; Lost to TA 2-0

7. South Gibson (13-AA) (4-1) – Beat North Side 3-0; Beat Liberty 3-0; Lost to South Side 2-1; Beat Scotts Hill 2-0; Beat Christian Education 2-0

8. Lexington (14-AA) (4-3) – Beat McNairy Central 3-0; Beat Camden Christian 3-1; Beat Fayette-Ware 3-0; Beat Fayette-Ware 3-0; Lost to Middleton 2-0; Lost to TCA 2-0; Lost to Madison 2-0

Monday, August 19, 2013

Preseason volleyball Elite 8

The high school volleyball season begins today with a few games across West Tennessee.

Here are my personal thoughts on the top eight teams in our coverage area.

The Jackson Sun covers 13 counties in West Tennessee – Madison, Gibson, Carroll, Crockett, Hardin, McNairy, Hardeman, Haywood, Benton, Weakley, Henderson, Chester and Decatur Counties.

If you missed the district breakdowns, log onto for a report.

1. Crockett County – The Lady Cavaliers reached the region semifinals last year, and they return six of eight starters from last season. Savannah Pillow and Lila Byrd return for their senior season.

2. Madison – The Lady Mustangs return most of last year’s squad that reached the Class A state tournament and should be the best team in Class A. Hitters Edie Buchanan and Amelia McLemore are back along with setter Rachel Burks.

3. USJ – The Lady Bruins return three starters from the team that reached the region quarterfinals. Paige Sheffield is one of the top setters in the area and will be a key part of USJ’s success.

4. TCA – The Lady Lions reached the Class A state tournament last season, but lost a few key components of the team. TCA does have one of the top setter-hitter combinations in Lauren Schmidt and Clare Taylor.

5. South Side – The Lady Hawks reached the region semifinals last year before losing to Dyersburg. South Side lost a majority of its hitting, but the Lady Hawks do return setter Jessica Neff and Shelby Bradford on the backline.

6. Chester County – The Eaglettes have reached the Class AA state tournament the past two seasons. Chester County graduated four starters, but return setter Katelyn Faulkner and hitter Presley Robinson.

7. South Gibson – The Lady Hornets were a much improved team last year, and they are looking to take the next step to be among the best. Celeste Miller is the team leader, and Hope Neyman is a go-to hitter.

8. Lexington – The Lady Tigers lost both of their top hitters from last season, but libero Candace Maness is back after sitting out last season. Kellie Hayes is also back at setter.

Breaking down District 15-AA volleyball

We conclude our look at the West Tennessee volleyball districts with the new district this season. Last year, the Class AA teams were put in two districts, but this year there are three.

This district will provide these six teams the ability to grow and become better. Liberty won a district title in 2007, JCM in 2002 and ’03 and North Side in 1999, but none have won a district title in recent history.

This district meets up with teams out of Memphis in the Region 8-AA tournament.






North Side



The Lady Chargers have met their end in the district semifinals each of the last four years to Crockett County.

Crockett County is not in the same district or region so Covington has the opportunity to try and win a district and region title.


The Lady Tomcats finished last in their division of District 13-AA last year. A new district might help Haywood find a couple of wins and maybe fight for a district title in the future.


The Lady Cougars finished in seventh place in District 14-AA last year one spot ahead of Fayette-Ware.

The Lady Cougars will look to build off of those two wins with a few more this season.


The Lady Crusaders return just two starters from last year’s team that finished fourth in District 14-AA.

The Lady Crusaders are one of the favorites in this district if they learn to play as a team.

Junior hitters Shannon Wilder and Kelsey Hulsey will be the leaders and go-to players.

North Side

The Lady Indians were hit hard last year by graduation. Everyone coach Lynette Anthony puts on the floor this year will be new to the starting rotation.

Anthony does have the advantage of moving down from Class AAA to Class AA.

With the teams in this district, North Side has the opportunity to grow into a better team.


The Lady Tigers finished third in their side of District 13-AA last season, ahead of Haywood.

Ripley is a team that has the potential to be good, and this district might help them be amongst those fighting for the district title at the end of the season.

Predicted order of finish:

1. Covington

2. Liberty

3. Ripley

4. North Side

5. JCM

6. Haywood

District semifinals: Covington vs. North Side; Liberty vs. Ripley

District championship: Covington vs. Liberty

District champion: Covington

Region semifinals: Covington vs. Manassas; Liberty vs. Fairley

Region championship: Liberty vs. Covington

Region champion: Liberty


Sectional: Liberty vs. Dyersburg; Crockett County vs. Covington

Breaking down District 14-AA volleyball

We continue our look today at high school volleyball in West Tennessee with the second of three Class AA districts.

District 14-AA has been one of the most competitive over the past couple of seasons. Chester County has won the last four district championships, but none were easy or blowouts.

The district lost two teams to District 15-AA – Liberty and Jackson Central-Merry – but Bolivar added the sport this season.



Chester County



McNairy Central

South Side


The Lady Tigers enter into their inaugural season in one of the toughest districts in the area. Bolivar is a younger team with many of the key players being sophomores, so look for this team to improve as the season goes on.

Kiya Sain played last year at South Side, and she should be the leader on the court for the Lady Tigers.

Chester County

The Eaglettes look to win a fifth consecutive district title this season, but after losing four starters, it will be tough.

Chester County graduated Cynthia Beene, The Jackson Sun’s 2012 Player of the Year, along with Annsley Poston, Jana Frye and Natalie Clayton.

Katelyn Faulkner returns as a starting setter and Madison Cherry-Reed should help her getting the ball to the hitters.

Presley Robinson and Madison McCaskill will be the go-to hitters.


The Lady Wildcats have struggled through recent seasons. Being in such a tough district is hard on teams trying to grow and find needed wins.


The Lady Tigers graduated the two top hitters from last season in Andrea Moffitt and Caylee Burnine.

This will be a young Lexington team with freshmen playing key roles.

Candace Maness returns at libero after missing last season due to an ACL injury. Kellie Hays also returns at setter. Time will tell how good this team can be.

McNairy Central

The Lady Bobcats were hit hard by graduation after last season.

McNairy Central returns two starters from last season and both will be seniors this year. Brianna Bodiford and Addison King will be the players to watch out for on this team.

South Side

The Lady Hawks reached the region semifinals last season before losing to Dyersburg.

South Side returns three starters from last season, but lost all of their top hitters.

The Tiplers are gone, but Jessica Neff returns at setter for her senior year, and she is one the brink of becoming the program’s all-time assist leader.

Junior Shelby Bradford returns on the backline, and freshman Shea Dean will need to step in on the front line.

Predicted order of finish:

1. South Side

2. Chester

3. Lexington

4. McNairy Central

5. Fayette-Ware

* Bolivar is not playing a full district schedule, so the Lady Tigers will not play in the district tournament.

District semifinals: South Side vs. McNairy Central; Chester County vs. Lexington

District championship: Chester County vs. South Side

District champion: South Side

Region semifinals: South Side vs. Dyersburg; Crockett County vs. Chester County

Region championship: Crockett County vs. Dyersburg

Region champion: Crockett County

Friday, August 16, 2013

Breaking down District 13-AA volleyball

Now that we have talked about Class A volleyball, it is time to move on to Class AA. Just like many other sports, volleyball now has three districts in this classification compared to two last season.

Unlike in years past when a win in the region semifinals almost guaranteed a trip to state, other West Tennessee teams have moved into District 15-AA. So sectionals could now be between two West Tennessee teams.

District 13-AA is down to four teams, compared to eight last year, but four of the top five teams from the last couple years stayed in the district.

Dyersburg has reached the state tournament the last four years, and Crockett County reached in 2009 and ’10.


Crockett County



South Gibson

Crockett County

The Lady Cavaliers are expected to be one of the best teams in West Tennessee this season.

Crockett County returns six of the eight players that were in the starting rotation last season.

Senior Savannah Pillow returns at setter after leading the team in kills and assists last year. Senior Lila Byrd returns at outside hitter also.

Could this be the year that Crockett County returns to the top of the district and makes a return trip to state?


The Lady Trojans have been the top team in all of West Tennessee for the past couple of seasons, but can that streak continue.

Dyersburg has lost many of its top hitters over the last two years, but players like Laura Pickens and Kyndal Riddick are ready to step into those roles.


The Lady Bulldogs have improved each of the four years of the varsity squad’s existence. This year though Milan has to do some rebuilding.

Six starters graduated last year. Outside hitter Savannah Melton is the lone returning starter.

Outside hitter Cordelia Taylor and middle hitter Elizabeth Rainwater will step into roles on the front line, and Tatum Sheppard will be the setter.

Experience as the season progresses will only make this team better.

South Gibson

The Lady Hornets are coming into this season with high expectations for themselves. South Gibson is another young program looking to take the next step toward the area’s elite.

Celeste Miller is the lone senior on this team, and she will bring the leadership.

Sophomore Hope Neyman could be one of the top hitters in the area as the season goes on.

Time will tell just how good the Lady Hornets can be.

Predicted order of finish:

1. Dyersburg

2. Crockett County

3. South Gibson

4. Milan

District semifinals: Dyersburg vs. Milan; Crockett County vs. South Gibson

District championship: Dyersburg vs. Crockett County

District champion: Crockett County

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Breaking down District 15-A volleyball

We continue our look at Class A volleyball today as we break down District 15-A.

Madison and Trinity Christian Academy have reached the Class A state tournament all four years of its existence, and the two teams would love to get back for a fifth-straight time.

Riverside dropped volleyball this season, so there are only four teams in the district.




Scotts Hill



The Lady Mustangs are loaded coming back this season and should be the best team in Class A in West Tennessee.

The expectations are high for first-year coach Crystal Slaughter.

Hitters Edie Buchanan and Amelia McLemore are back along with setter Rachel Burks.

The biggest position Madison has to replace is libero after Destinee Boyd graduated.


The Lady Tigers are looking to make a move up the standings in this tough district this season.

Middleton returns five starters from last season.

Outside hitter Abby Dixon returns for her senior season and will be the leader of the team.

Junior libero Sydney Russell, sophomore hitter Christian Woods and freshman setter Megan Leslie are also players to watch

Scotts Hill

The Lady Lions have been that third place team for the past couple season, but could this be the year Scotts Hill wins in the semifinals and reaches the district championship.

Coach Ruth Taylor has done a good job getting the Lady Lions better and better each season.


The Lady Lions are the defending champion, but they have some missing pieces from last year.

Hannah Grider, The Jackson Sun’s 2012 Hitter of the Year, Mary Nell Sparks and Peyton Wright have graduated, and Lydia Dodrill stepped down as coach.

TCA picked up a good one to replace Dodrill in former Union coach Kelly Elliott.

The Lady Lions also return on of the top setter-hitter combinations in the area in Lauren Schmidt and Clare Taylor, who are juniors this season.

Predicted order of finish:

1. Madison

2. TCA

3. Scotts Hill

4. Middleton

District semifinals: Madison vs. Madison; TCA vs. Scotts Hill

District championship: Madison vs. TCA

District champion: Madison

Region semifinals: Madison vs. Booker T. Washington; TCA vs. G.W. Carver

Region championship: Madison vs. TCA

Region champion: TCA


Sectionals: TCA vs. Trenton Peabody; Halls vs. Madison

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Breaking down Region 7-A volleyball

We continue to look at volleyball in West Tennessee today with Region 7-A.

This region has grown. Gibson County moves down from Class AA, and Humboldt adds the sport again after dropping it before last season.

There are still not enough teams for two districts, but there is enough to make it a better region tournament.

Halls and Trenton Peabody have dominated the region and advanced to the championship match the last four years.


Gibson County



Trenton Peabody

Union City

Gibson County

The Lady Pioneers went winless last season, but taking a step down from Class AA to Class A should help this team a lot.

Gibson County will now face teams that are the same school size and on more of the same talent level.


The Lady Tigers have won three of the four region titles since Class A was created.

Halls is always tough under head coach Joey Tettleton.

Players like Amanda McBroom, Kristin Davis and Mallory Hardy will lead the Lady Tigers this season in their quest for another region title.


The Lady Vikings didn’t have enough players to have a team last year, but they will have one this season.

Adding the sport back will be beneficial for the district and the growth of the sport in West Tennessee.

Trenton Peabody

The Lady Tide won the region title two years ago, and the team wants to win it again.

Peabody graduated some of the talent from last season, but players like seniors Sarah Kate Coday and Chelsey Cox return.

The Lady Tide will look to continue to improve as the season goes on and be playing its best in the postseason.

Union City

The Lady Tornadoes are in their second season of varsity volleyball. Union City did pick up a win over Gibson County last season, and the squad will look to grow off of that.

Look for the team to be more competitive this season and try to find a few more wins.

Predicted order of finish:

1. Halls

2. Trenton Peabody

3. Union City

4. Humboldt

5. Gibson County

Region semifinals: Trenton Peabody vs. Union City; Halls vs. Humboldt

Region championship: Peabody vs. Halls

Region champion: Halls