All-Area Volleyball Team

Published 5:25 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Glen Graham’s first experience with Allison Mims wasn’t a good one.

Graham was teaching an elementary physical education class, and Mims was a headstrong fifth grader.

Little did either know at the time that Mims would end up being the best player on Graham’s 14th and final Isabella volleyball team.

Record breaker: Isabella senior libero Allison Mims set a new single-season digs record as the Mustangs earned a third consecutive berth in the state tournament.

“Her and I came to terms along the way,” Graham said, understating the relationship necessary for the 2011 Mustangs to grow from an inexperienced team to one that earned the program’s third consecutive appearance in the state tournament.

Mims, always talented but content to let others fill the leadership positions, became the face of the team, determined yet relaxed.

“I just thought that with us being a young team that they looked up to me more, so I thought I should do my best and hope they did theirs too,” Mims said.

“She showed up first for almost every practice,” Graham said. “She kept the other girls loose, and they had confidence in her.”

Mims, The Clanton Advertiser’s Volleyball Player of the Year, set a new Isabella record for digs in a season with 466. She also recorded 97 aces and 37 kills.

Graham said it was somewhat unusual to have a leader play the libero position, which requires the thankless task of going to the ground often to return opponents’ serves and kill attempts, instead of the glamour involved with being a dominant net player or the quarterback-like setter position.

“She was a really good captain,” Graham said. “It was her keeping the team together many times.”

All-area team

•Sade’ Archie, Senior, Thorsby

•Desiree Evans, Senior, Thorsby

•Shelby Griffin, Junior, Jemison

•Savannah Kissel, Senior, Isabella

•Keondra Looney, Senior, Chilton Co.

•Allison Mims, Senior, Isabella

Second team

•Madeline Anderson, Senior, Maplesville

•Khadijah Craig, Junior, Isabella

•Lori Davis, Senior, Billingsley

•Keona DeJarnett, Sophomore, Chilton Co.

•Haley Smitherman, Junior, Jemison

•Jennifer Spivey, Sophomore, Thorsby

–Selections were based on coaches’ nominations, season statistics and overall team success.