Volleyball Preview 2022: Union County
Back-to-back state semifinal runs for the Lady Panthers under coach Anna Chapman were new heights for the Union County program, which is still very young. Now the team faces a new chapter, as Chapman’s resignation led to the hiring of Megan Brown.
Head Coach: Megan Brown, 1st season
2021 Record: 18-8; State Final 4; #4 State Ranking
Regardless, the blueprint for success in Blairsville is solidified, as the program (established in 2017) has made the playoffs in four of five seasons, and have the two Final 4 runs and an Elite 8. Adding to the optimism is the fact that the team lost only two seniors from last year’s group.
Key Departures: Morgan Fussell, Emma Whicker
Fussell leaves Union as perhaps the best to play in the program to date, and she finished her career with 116 kills, 63 aces, and 33 digs. Whicker’s production was solid as well, especially in serving (29 aces).
Key Returning Players: Kaylee Ashcraft, Saylor Noe, Sofia Swartz, Sofia McNabb, Addison Cross
Ashcraft is back for her senior year, which is fantastic. At outside hitter, her 113 kills, 115 digs, 86 aces, and 8 assists made for tremendous production. Noe was solid too (117 digs, 88 kills, 38 aces, 11 assists), as too was Swartz (63 kills, 23 aces, 20 blocks, 13 digs, 9 assists), McNabb (201 assists, 71 digs, 42 kills, 43 aces, 7 blocks), and Cross (136 digs, 10 aces, 6 assists, 4 kills).
Strength & Area of Focus
Strength: Team chemistry and winning foundation. With a group that is mostly intact, that should translate into more victories. The experience is pivotal. Also the winning culture that this program now has.
Focus: Pedal to the metal. This program is riding high after back-to-back semifinal runs. They won 42 sets against just 19 lost last year, and were a perfect 10-0 in area/region play. The team will remain intently focused on doing more of the same, but winning even more.
I for one am looking forward to seeing and cheering the squad on.