Preseason Volleyball Power Rankings
With the local volleyball programs set to throw down on the 2020 season, we present our Preseason Power Rankings.
COACH – Brittani Lawrence (5th Season)
2019 – 33-6; State Sweet 16; Region Champions; #5 State Ranking
The Lady Dragons had a tenth straight playoff run, and it was the sixth time in that span that they advanced past the first round. After losing five seniors, the 33-win Jefferson program is set for even more success this time around. Annabelle Cox, JoJo Smith, Maddie Grace Smith, and Abbey Howard all come back after Player of the Year caliber seasons. Margo Perry’s production will have to be replaced, but it’s safe to say Brittani Lawrence’s team is primed for a HUGE season.
#2 HABERSHAM CENTRAL
COACH – Lindsay Herrin (10th Season)
2019 – 30-5; State Round 1; Region Runner-Up; #1 State Ranking
Hab Central had a ridiculous season that saw the Lady Raiders earn a #1 state ranking, a region runner-up finish in the regular season, and a state playoff appearance. It marked a third appearance in the last four years for the program under Lindsay Herrin. Gone are stars Sydney Brookshire, Ansley Hendrix, Alexandra Shalikashvili, Haley Rice, and Rachel Smith. In all, seven seniors from a year ago have moved on. Here’s the great thing…the Lady Raiders return perhaps the most impressive freshman from last season in Madeline Koshuta, who has the work ethic and makings of the next great Habersham volleyball player. Obviously many young players will have to step up after losing so many seniors, but the foundation is certainly there, and the team deserves the benefit of the doubt.
#3 DAWSON COUNTY
COACH – Tonya Porter (5th Season)
2019 – 26-24; State Elite 8; Region Runner-Up, #8 State Ranking
Tonya Porter’s Lady Tigers made a third straight playoff run, and first-ever trip to the Elite 8. That came with a state ranking (first in school history) and a program record 26 wins. This volleyball program is still very young (five years old), and while Chloe Bennett and Marlie Townley departed after graduating, Hayley Selzer will return as the primary senior to lead the charge in 2020.
#4 WHITE COUNTY
COACH – Shannon Smith (3rd Season)
2019 – 20-14; State Elite 8; Region 3rd; #8 State Ranking
The Lady Warriors’ 2019 season was historic, as it marked the first time in program history the team got past the first round of state. The Elite 8 run earned White County its first state ranking, and the 20 wins were a tie for a school record. Hope Thomas’ production will be missed, but Jenna Ash and Dasha Cannon are back for promising senior seasons.
#5 TALLULAH FALLS
COACH – Matt Heyl (3rd Season)
2019 – 22-20; State Round 1; Region Runner-Up; #7 State Ranking
Tallulah Falls returns after a fifth straight state playoff run, a best in program history. The Lady Indians are just two years removed from a Sweet 16, and have four winning seasons in the last five years. The program’s career leader in many categories, Kate Blackburn, has graduated. But a huge plus is the return of the reigning BLITZ Player of the Year, Katy Corbett, is back for her final season. It has the potential to be an exciting year at Tallulah Falls.
#6 LUMPKIN COUNTY
COACH – Haley Dibble (2nd Season)
2019 – 22-21; State Round 1; Region Runner-Up
The Lady Indians had a third consecutive 20-win season, and the 22 wins set a new program record. It also marked a second time in a row of making state and third overall in the program’s 11-year history. A good number of playmakers come back in Victoria Crotzer, Isabel Davenport, Kiersta Trammell, MaKenzie Caldwell, and Reagan Spivey. Literally all the standouts from a year ago. That means big things are likely for Lumpkin County.
#7 RABUN COUNTY
COACH – Reggie Rider (2nd Season)
2019 – 17-22; State Final 4; Region Champions; #4 State Ranking
Rabun made a program-best Final Four run last year, after winning 17 games and becoming Area Champions. Mainstay Destiny Deetz has moved on, but the Lady Cats have plenty of other players to step up and keep it going.
#8 UNION COUNTY
COACH – Anna Chapman (1st Season)
2019 – 15-20; State Elite 8; Region Runner-Up; #8 State Ranking
Union County made the Elite 8 for the first time in school history (just its third season), and made it back-to-back for the state tournament. A #8 state ranking was also included, and the 15 wins was 12 better than the previous season. The bad news is Adelia Pyle is gone after graduating. But there remains a good number of players with experience to make a similar run this season.
#9 STEPHENS COUNTY
COACH – Jeremy Hughes (1st Season)
2019 – 5-26; Region 5th
The Lady Indians look to get to state for the first time in recent history. Star libero Dale Cleland has graduated, so someone will have to step up and take the lead in Jeremy Hughes’ first season over the volleyball program.
COACH – Robin Richards (1st Season)
2019 – N/A
Commerce opens its first full varsity season in 2020. Time will tell where they settle in among our local programs.
T-#10 BANKS COUNTY
COACH – Allison McClure (1st Season)
2019 – N/A
Banks County opens its first full varsity season in 2020. Time will also tell for them where they sit among our locals.