Isabella pair named top volleyball players

Published 4:11 pm Friday, December 1, 2017

Synia Chattman and Sophia Underwood of Isabella are The Clanton Advertiser’s 2017 Volleyball Players of the Year.

It is the second time in three years that Chattman received the honor and the first for Underwood.

They were two pieces of a large senior class that helped lead the Mustangs to a school record 40 wins and a return trip to the Elite Eight.

“It’s been so much fun coaching this group [of seniors], because they have such a high volleyball IQ,” Isabella head coach Glen Graham said. “They understand how to play the game and have played together for so long that they know what each is capable of doing on the court.”

Chattman and Underwood were voted co-captains by their fellow teammates in the hotel room prior to the Elite Eight matchup.

Helping create the team atmosphere was made easier due to the fact that the majority of the team played multiple sports together and had many avenues to build chemistry.

“Synia is a born leader,” Graham said. “Every day at practice she did everything that I asked her to do it seemed like. The other girls looked to her.”

The key to Isabella’s sustained success over the years is staying “in system,” which means players not only knowing their roles, but also executing them with the betterment of the team in mind.

“On the nights when we were playing our best, these two certainly had huge impacts on the game,” Graham said. “It all starts with passing and serving.”

Underwood played libero and often times got an offensive possession started with a nice dig that was eventually passed along and was finished off on most occasions with a kill by the likes of Chattman.

“Both of them have been blessed with athletic ability, and I’ve certainly seen them work and grow into their roles,” Graham said. “Synia is possibly the best all-around player that I’ve ever coached. She can do it all.”

Chattman’s leaping ability allowed her to play above the net and win the battles against opponents that had a size advantage. She ended her career with 1,242 kills and 520 blocks and proved that playing big is not all about the measurements.

“I’m small, but mighty,” Chattman said. “It’s about being big at the net. You’ve just got to work hard and claim your spot every time you go out there, whether at practice or a game.”

According to Graham, excelling as a libero requires a fearless mentality and a player who is willing to dive on the floor and chase after every ball that comes their way.

“I loved my position,” Underwood said. “I had some bruises, but they didn’t hurt.”

Underwood fit that description and finished her career with 1,342 digs as a result of her relentless effort on the court.

“If she’s [Underwood] on, she is an amazing passer,” Graham said. “She could get balls up that nobody else could for us.”

They both initially tried out for the volleyball team in sixth grade and have been mainstays on the varsity squad throughout high school.

What they will both miss most about their time on the volleyball court at Isabella is the close-knit relationships that they developed with teammates.

“When everyone came together, there was nothing better than that,” Underwood said.


2017 Clanton Advertiser Volleyball All-Area

First Team

Synia Chattman, senior, Isabella

Kasey Grimes, senior, Isabella

Leslie Hague, senior, Jemison

Hannah Northcutt, senior, Jemison

Sophia Underwood, senior, Isabella

Amaya White, senior, CCHS


Second Team

Tydasia Davis, junior, Maplesville

Jayda Jones, senior, Isabella

Kaitlin Lockhart, senior, Isabella

Kaitlyn Lowery, senior, Thorsby

Jordan Ray, junior, CCHS

Spencer Simpson, senior, Billingsley


Third Team

Brianna Connell, junior, CCHS

Kelsey Lowery, senior, Jemison

Lauren Reeser, senior Thorsby

Karley Smitherman, sophomore, Maplesville

Kinley Tuttle, senior, Isabella

Natalee Zaner, sophomore, Billingsley