Isabella celebrates volleyball history

Published 4:30 pm Saturday, October 11, 2008

On Oct. 4, about a dozen alumni of the Isabella volleyball program got together for an afternoon of fun and fellowship. They were treated to lunch and a large exhibit of newspaper clippings, photos and other memorabilia, as well as a collection of about two dozen T-shirts worn by the team through the years.

The former players were also presented one of their game jerseys as a souvenir. Afterward, the public was invited to a scrimmage that was won, 3-0, by a team that was led by Jennifer New Griffin and also included Jennifer Windham Givens, Angel Allen, Maegan Gilliland, Beth Jones and Yazmin Contreras.The Isabella volleyball program was re-started in 1998 after an almost 20-year absence. In the 1970s, every school in the county played volleyball. The most recent trophy in the Mustangs’ trophy case from the previous era was a 1977 County Tournament championship. The last year Isabella fielded a team from that era was in 1980-81. Chilton County High suspended volleyball in 1982. Jemison is the only school in the county that has played volleyball continuously since the ‘70s.

Under coach Glen Graham, a 1979 Isabella alumnus, the Mustangs won their first volleyball match some time in September 1998, beating B.B. Comer. They went on to win eight matches the first year, including winning the area tournament. By the end of the second season, the Mustangs were in the state Elite Eight tournament.

In their first 10 years, the Mustangs posted 241 wins, 10 area championships, two region championships, six appearances in the state tournament and one county championship (the county tournament was resurrected in 2004). And, since 2004, six Mustangs have played collegiately, ranging from junior college to NCAA Division I.