Once again this fall, Heritage and Rockdale made runs at claiming berths to the Class AAAA state volleyball playoffs.
Two seniors - Heritage's Tori Pierce and Rockdale's Jasmine Lewis - played key roles as both squads chased their playoff goal. Pierce provided steady leadership and strong play as the sophomore-laden Lady Patriots fell one victory short of a state bid. At Rockdale, Lewis was a pillar of strength in the middle as the Lady Bulldogs also came up one win shy of a state berth.
For those reasons, Pierce and Lewis are the Volleyball Players of the Year on the Citizen's 2007 All-Area Volleyball Team.
Heritage's David Buddenbaum is the Coach of the Year after guiding a young squad to a remarkable season. With eight sophomores in the lineup, the Lady Patriots posted a 29-14 record and won the Area 8-AAAA South title with a perfect 5-0 record.
Tori Pierce: The senior outside hitter was the Lady Patriots' go-to player on the outside, leading the team in kills with 224. She also had 43 aces and 17 blocks.
Aniya Strong: Strong, a senior outside hitter, chalked 168 kills and 43 aces for the Lady Bulldogs. She also tallied 272 passes to target.
Maha Syed: The senior outside hitter turned in a strong season for the Lady Seminoles with 140 kills, 30 aces, 12 blocks, 241 digs and 224 passes.
Qeiarra Johnson: Johnson, a senior outside hitter, led the Lady Eagles in kills and aces and was second in blocks.
Jasmine Lewis: The senior middle hitter registered a team-high 236 kills for the Lady Bulldogs. She also had 52 aces and a service percentage of 92 percent.
Taylor Bailey: Bailey, one of the Lady Patriots' strong sophomore class, paced her team in blocks with 88. The middle hitter was also second in kills behind Pierce with 190.
Olivia Wasdin: Wasdin teamed up with Bailey to give the Lady Patriots a strong tandem at middle hitter. The sophomore tallied 139 kills, 52 blocks and 77 aces.
Jenna Brandenburg: The senior middle hitter led the Lady Seminoles in kills (141), aces (80) and solo blocks (22).
Kelsey Girardot: Girardot, a sophomore right-side hitter, registered 98 kills, 60 aces, 39 assists and 15 blocks for the Lady Bulldogs.
Rachel Jubran: The sophomore setter paced the Lady Patriots in assists with 360. She also had 77 aces and a service percentage of 92.8 percent.
Chelsea Nunn: Nunn, a sophomore setter, led the Lady Bulldogs with 386 assists. She also had 33 kills and a service percentage of 89 percent.
Kara Dobbs: The senior setter tallied a team-high 187 assists for the Lady Seminoles and chipped in 191 digs.
Olivia Patrick: Patrick, a senior libero, ended her career with the Lady Patriots as the school's all-time leader in passing efficiency and digs. She also set a single-season record in passing efficiency. This season, the defensive specialist had 314 digs to go along with 50 aces and a service percentage of 91.9 percent.