Libby Smith Leads Berean To State Volleyball Title

Freshman MVP Outstanding As Lady Eagles Win TAACS Championship

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - by John Hunt
The Berean Academy Lady Eagles celebrate a state championship in volleyball recently in Murfreesboro.
The Berean Academy Lady Eagles celebrate a state championship in volleyball recently in Murfreesboro.

Beth Ware has been the volleyball coach for the Berean Academy Lady Eagles for the past four years and her team has finished closer and closet to the top in the Tennessee Athletic Association of Christian Schools tournament.

They finished fourth the first year and third the second.  They were runner-up last year, so you can just guess that they won it all in her fourth year as their leader.

Such was the case in Murfreesboro a couple of weeks ago as the Lady Eagles defeated Franklin Road Christian Academy in three straight sets to claim their first state title and the first ever in the history of the school, a private christian school located off Highway 153 just past Northgate.

Berean has about 300 students in grades K-12, which means there are less than 80 students in grades 9-12 from which to field a volleyball team.

The record wasn't all that impressive as they won 23 matches against a dozen defeats, but when push came to shove and the most important matches were being played, the Lady Eagles came through with nerves of steel as they prevailed by scores of 25-20, 25-18 and 25-20.

Libby Smith was selected as the tournament most valuable player while Alicia Baird was also selected for the All-Tournament team.  Both are freshmen.

Berean had lost to this same Franklin Road team in the finals last year, so to come back to beat the defending champs in their own gym just made it that much more special.

"It was a fun environment as the gym was packed.  We had made friends with another team, so they were cheering for us in the finals which helped offset their home-court advantage," the coach recalled.

"It was a little nerve-wracking, knowing that we had to beat the best team in their own gym, but everything worked out just fine.

Speaking of those talented ninth graders, six of Berean's 10 varsity players this fall are freshmen.  They also have three pretty good sophomores.

Jasa Allen, a 5-4 sparkplug who serves as one of their setters, is the only senior on the team.

Emme Woodward, Bailee Redden and Lydia Johnson are all sophomores while Rheagan Kean, Kayleigh Heaton, Anna Shorle, Abigail Schremp join Smith and Baird as the six freshmen.

Berean finished second in the region tournament to Tri-Cities, a team from Bristol, but the Lady Eagles didn't have to play them again in the state tournament.

Playing perhaps their best volleyball of the season, the Lady Eagles were unbeaten in the tournament with three straight wins.

"We had a really good season as we're the first team ever from Berean to win a state title.  That's why it's such a big deal for us," Ware said after school was dismissed Tuesday afternoon.

"We graduated six seniors from last year's state runner-up, but I could tell from the beginning of the season that we'd have a strong team.  Last year we just didn't have that killer instinct, but consistent hitting was the key this year.  We never let up and just seemed to hit it harder in tight situations," the coach continued.

Allen is a four-year starter who was on Ware's first team.

"We started here together, but she's a consistent, all-around good player who really stepped up as our leader this year.  She's kind of quiet, but she's calm and cool-headed in tough situations and she was great with our younger girls.

"Our season started off kind of rough, but we definitely improved as the season went on.  I'm not sure the final was our best performance, but it had to be our best match simply because of the outcome," Ware continued.

"Volleyball is just a sport, but it's a gift from the Lord to be able to play and win like we did.  This is really a special group of young ladies and we didn't have any grade issues to worry about.

"They are all just great kids, but I guess we created a lot of pressure for ourselves concerning next year.  I guess we'll just have to go back up there and prove ourselves again," Ware concluded.

(email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)

 


UTC's Levin, Davis Represent Mocs At SoCon Media Day

Two All-Americans are set to represent the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga at the 2016 Southern Conference Football Media Day on Wednesday, July 27, in Spartanburg, S.C.    Senior offensive lineman Corey Levin and senior defensive end Keionta Davis are making the trip to the annual conference kickoff prior to the start of the 2016 college football season.  Head ... (click for more)

UT To Implement New Bag Policy For All Athletic Venues

To enhance safety and expedite fan entry to athletic events, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is implementing new safety policies for fans bringing bags into all athletic venues, including Neyland Stadium, beginning in August. Only one clear plastic bag no larger than 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches or a one-gallon clear resealable plastic storage bag per person will ... (click for more)

County Schools Receive Community Gift For Almost $1 Million To Fund Public School Bible History Program

Bible in the Schools presented a community gift for nearly $1 million to the Hamilton County Department of Education (HCDE) to reimburse 100 percent of the costs of funding a Bible history program in 18 public schools for the 2015–2016 academic year. Enrollment data for 2015–2016 reported 3,582 students in grades 6–12 elected to take a Bible history classes. “This gift from the ... (click for more)

DA's Office Defends Suspended Sentence In School Bus Driver Rape Case

The District Attorney's Office defended a controversial suspended sentence in a rape case involving a substitute county school bus driver. Prosecutor Jason Demastus said the victim, who was 15 years old at the time of the March 2015 incident, was in agreement on the plea and refused to testify against Alexander Rodriquez. Rodriguez, 34, last Thursday pleaded guilty to ... (click for more)

Make America Good Again - And Response

“No people can be great, who have ceased to be virtuous.”   Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784) Last week I witnessed first hand the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. As I observed the happenings within the Quicken Arena, the one theme that continued to pop up again and again, was  Make America Great Again .  Of course, that being ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Keep Mike Carter’s Genius

Mike Carter, who has just been chosen as the “Best Overall” member of the Tennessee Legislature by a group known as the Tennessee Forum and “Legislator of the Year” by Citizens for Home Rule, is truly both. A lawyer and then a Sessions Court judge for 8 ½ years, he is overwhelmingly favored to win a third term during next Thursday’s election and rightly so. While it is laudable ... (click for more)