All-Record Volleyball Team

Posted 11/7/19

Player of the Year: Katon Blackmon, South Johnston (junior, outside hitter)

280 kills, 63 aces, 262 digs

Having to choose a player of the year was difficult, but ultimately, Blackmon’s …

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All-Record Volleyball Team

Posted

Player of the Year: Katon Blackmon, South Johnston (junior, outside hitter)

280 kills, 63 aces, 262 digs

Having to choose a player of the year was difficult, but ultimately, Blackmon’s numbers were just too good to ignore. The South Johnston junior captain led all Record players both in kills and aces and was fourth in digs. Last season Blackmon was strictly a front row player, but this year she hardly ever left the court, helping lead the Trojans to 18 wins for the first time since 2015.

“Coming into this year I worked hard on improving in other areas like defense and passing,” Blackmon said. “That allowed me to stay on the court more, get more back row kills and help the team more. I’m still working on my passing and trying to become a more complete player, but I’m excited for next season.”

Though South struggled with consistency at times in Greater Neuse Conference play, there were plenty of promising moments, like in the Trojans’ comeback from down 2-0 to win 3-2 at rival West Johnston. Blackmon said it was her favorite moment of the season. And with her coming back for her senior campaign next season, South will look to build on this year and create many more memorable wins in 2020.

“She was a captain as a junior and a six-rotation player because she is a talented all-around volleyball player,” South coach Matthew Adams said. “She is also a great student-athlete with a 4.0-plus GPA. We are very thankful she will return for another year.”

First Team

Caitlyn Holland, Midway (senior, outside hitter/setter)

183 kills, 208 assists, 65 digs, 26 aces, 14 blocks

Perhaps the most well-rounded player in the area, Holland was a close runner-up for player of the year. As Midway coach Brandy Wrench put it, “She sets, she digs, she hits, she blocks.” Holland does it all on the volleyball court and played a big role in leading the Raiders to back-to-back second round appearances in the NCHSAA playoffs the last two years.

Her biggest performances came in some of the biggest games for Midway this season. She had a season-best 21 kills in the regular season win at Clinton, and though the Raiders lost to the Darkhorses on senior night and in the playoffs, Holland had a season-best five kills per set in her final game, racking up 15 in the 3-0 loss at Clinton.

Evie Pollard, Triton (senior, outside hitter)

211 kills, 247 digs, 27 aces, 20 blocks

Another strong candidate for player of the year, Pollard was fourth in the area in kills, fifth in digs, seventh in blocks and 10th in aces. When the high-flying senior Hawk got rolling, opponents would’ve been best advised to just get out of the way.

One of those nights she got rolling came at Harnett Central. Triton struggled in the first two sets and fell behind 2-0, but then Pollard put her game face on and led the Hawks with 18 kills and 18 digs in a comeback for the ages over their bitter rivals.

Syniah McMiller, Harnett Central (junior, middle blocker)

190 kills, 112 blocks

Even though McMiller was strictly limited to playing front row, at times she was the most dominant player in the area this season. Standing at 6-foot-1 with long arms and a solid vertical, she was built to be a middle blocker. She led all Record players in blocks and was fifth in kills.

When Central struggled this season, it was usually because they struggled to get her involved. But the Trojans were at their best when they got her involved. She took control of the first two sets in the home game against Triton, and though Central lost the match in the final three sets, McMiller racked up an astounding 22 kills and 13 blocks. With her returning for one more year, the Trojans will hope that they can continue to get her more and more involved as she continues to develop as a player.

Tyler Grace Gamblin, Triton (senior, setter)

500 assists, 52 kills, 29 aces

Though she suffered an ankle injury midway through the season, Gamblin still finished the year with more assists than any other Record player. A heady senior, Gamblin had a great feel for when to set and when to go for a sneaky attack, and Triton was at its best when she was on her game.

One week after suffering the ankle injury, Gamblin returned to play in the miracle comeback at Harnett Central. She sat out the first set, rotated out whenever she went to the back row and was still clearly feeling the effects of the injury, but Gamblin still contributed a solid 22 assists to help he Hawks rally from behind.

Kennedy Byrd, South Johnston (sophomore, libero)

448 digs, 57 aces

Another sport, another All-Record honor for Byrd. Though she’s only a sophomore, she’s clearly one of the best all-around athletes in the entire area as she’s also a standout on the softball and basketball teams.

Byrd finished the season second among Record players in digs and tied for third in aces. And with two more years of high school left for her, coach Adams will certainly be excited for the future of South’s program.

Second Team

Leeanna Hines, South Johnston (senior, middle blocker): 231 kills, 73 blocks

Jenna Brown, South Johnston (senior, middle blocker/outside hitter): 223 kills, 57 aces, 40 blocks

Sydney Williams, Midway (junior, setter): 235 assists, 59 aces, 51 digs

Breigh Hobbs, Triton (senior, outside hitter/setter): 114 kills, 226 assists, 128 digs, 32 aces

Gracyn Slaughter, Triton (junior, libero): 543 digs, 27 kills, 18 aces

Reyna Johnson, Cape Fear Christian Academy (junior, outside hitter): 132 kills, 51 aces

Honorable Mentions

Makenyia Mackey, Western Harnett (sophomore, outside hitter)

Maranda Byrd, Midway (junior, libero)

Bethany Norris, Triton (junior, middle blocker/outside hitter)

Kameron Lee, Hobbton (senior, outside hitter)

Alexis Lillard, Overhills (senior, outside hitter)

Makyia Mackey, Western Harnett (junior, middle blocker/outside hitter)

Makayla Chavis, Midway (senior, outside hitter/middle blocker)

Alexis Gordon, Harnett Central (senior, libero)

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