Sunday, 3 December 2023

International Volleyball

Tawa’s HS Volleyball Dots: Rock star teams, players and … a rock star coach

Tawa’s HS Volleyball Dots: Rock star teams, players and ... a rock star coach

Kristen Pontes-Christian gets posterized for Pitman in what she thought was her last match as coach. Nope!

This is “Dots,”’s weekly look at 10 things in high school volleyball, past or present, that interest me and hopefully will interest you. Look for Dots every Tuesday until the last high school state championship in November:

• Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Utah (in the smaller classifications) and Maine.

Those were the states scheduled to finish their fall seasons last week.

The mass shooting in Maine caused the Maine Principal’s Association to push back their finals for a few days.

The Class C final was staged yesterday, with Narraguagus, led by superstar senior Autumn Peterson, defeating Calais for the third time this season to win its first title. The Knights (16-1) were state runners up a year ago.

The Class A and B finals will be played today, with top-seeded Gorham taking on No. 3 Scarborough in Class A and No. 1 Washington Academy and No. 2 Yarmouth battling in Class B. Washington Academy won the Class C title in 2022. Yarmouth is the four-time defending Class B champions.

Fayetteville embraces the unexpected 6A title in Arkansas

• In Arkansas, the story, as it had been the prior three years, was Fayetteville, though for a different reason in 2023.

For three years, the Bulldogs had been loaded with talent. Winning state in Class 6A came easily. But Jessica Phelan’s team graduated 14 off of last year’s roster, including her daughter, Kenna, who has 458 assists for Florida State this fall. There were serious questions whether this team would even have a winning season, let alone contend for another title.

This Fayetteville team, however, was interested in leaving its own legacy. Facing Conway in the finals, the Bulldogs (25-8) were pushed to a fifth set, and then into extra points in that fifth set, before prevailing, 16-14, on kills from Regan Harp and Isabella Street.

Harp, the lone returning starter off of last year’s championship team, was named MVP after registering 29 kills. Quincy Schaffer contributed 45 assists and 16 digs.

“I could not be prouder of how these kids leaned into the legacy of Fayetteville Volleyball,” said Coach Phelan. “We graduated 14 seniors last season but, for this team, it was not just about who we lost, but who we are. They were a great team; played with total trust and passion, winning 16-14 in the fifth to secure the fourth…

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