This is the best year in the history of Capital City Conference volleyball teams, with four of the five reaching the state tournament, which made the selection of an all-Capital City Conference volleyball team a difficult task.
The conference’s coaches selected the team, voting St. James senior Carson Ann Crow the player of the year for the second consecutive year.
Crow led her team to the Class 4A state title a year ago and helped her team reach the Class 5A finals in 2018, going through a new area undefeated and winning the South Region title before finishing as runner-up to Jasper.
“She plays offense and defense so solid,” St. James coach Karen Lee said. “She finds a way to go around (defenses designed to stop her) or through them. She’s our captain. I typically let (the players) vote and they voted her captain just because she’s so solid in her game. She’s not as vocal as I’d like her to be, but you can just watch what she does and follow suit sometimes.”
In addition to St. James, Alabama Christian and Trinity reached the 4A state tournament before losing in the semifinals, while Montgomery Academy won the 3A state championship after dropping just one match in the South Regional and the state tournament.
MA coach Julie Gordon was voted as the coach of the year for her ability to take a group of talented athletes and turn it into a dominating team despite not having a dominating outside hitter to lead the way.
“This is the first year (without one), but because of that it made my hitters have to work extra hard,” Gordon said. “We worked on hitting a lot more this season than I ever have, but because of that we had seven or eight who really stepped up to the plate. Millie (Stevenson) could deliver the ball to any one of those players and we scored points. And that’s just hard to defend.”
Stevenson, the most valuable player of the state tournament, was an obvious selection to the all-Capital City Conference team along with teammate Catherine Updegraff, who led the Eagles in kills.
Others on the all-CCC team include senior leader Emily Olsey of St. James and Ashley White, who lined up opposite Crow as an outside hitter to give the Trojans a one-two punch in 5A. ACA outside hitter Gracie Shaddix made the team for the second consecutive year and teammate Emily Thornton made the team after passing the 1,000-assist milestone this season.
The first team was rounded out by Trinity senior Lucy Williams, who earned first-team status for the second consecutive year after becoming the school’s first career 1,000-kill performer.
ALL-CCC First Team
Carson Ann Crow - Senior - Outside Hitter - Saint James - 547 kills, 43 aces, 27 blocks, 36 assists, 436 digs
Millie Stevenson - Junior - Setter - MA- 976 assists, 1,650 career assists
Catherine Updegraff - Senior - Middle Hitter- MA - 718 kills, 1,250 career kills, averaged 8 blocks
Emily Olsey - Senior - Middle Hitter - St. James - 206 kills, 94 aces, 68 blocks, 263 digs, 536 assists
Gracie Shaddix - Senior- Outsdie Hitter - ACA - 502 kills, 159 digs, 13 aces, 11 blocks
Ashley White - Senior - Outside Hitter - Saint James - 254 kills, 56 blocks, 30 digs
Lucy Williams - Senior - Outside Hitter - Trinity - 443 kills, 45 aces, 324 digs, 36 blocks
Emily Thornton - Junior Setter ACA - 1100 assists, 103 kills, 45 aces
Player of the Year: Carson Ann Crow, St. James
Coach of the Year: Julie Gordon, Montgomery Academy
Honorable mention: Colden King, MH, Sr., Alabama Christian; LizAnne Livings, OH, Sr., St. James; Baylee Perkins, DS, Sr., Alabama Christian; Lorren Pharrams, MH, Jr., Catholic; Emily Poundstone, S, Sr., St. James; Mary Vander Sewell, OH, Sr., Alabama Christian; Melody Taylor, S, Sr., Catholic; Emma Beth Teel, S, Sr., Trinity; Mary Gray Turner, OH, Jr., Montgomery Academy; Drue Walker, L, Sr., Trinity; Bailey Williams, MH, Sr., St. James; Kathleen Wright, MH, Sr., St. James