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.

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