CCA wins both JV, varsity state volleyball titles
Published 12:00 pm Wednesday, October 25, 2023
By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor
Chilton Christian Academy captured both the junior varsity and varsity Alabama Christian Athletic Association volleyball state titles on Oct. 14 and 21. The Patriots’ varsity team also earned a spot in the National Association of Christian Athletes Sports 2023 National Volleyball Tournament in Dayton, Tennessee from Oct. 24-27.
The teams won the 2A division state titles at the Bynum Community Center in Oxford. CCA’s varsity team entered the state tournament as the two seed at 9-3 overall with one conference loss to the one seed Victory Christian School in Millbrook. That conference loss came earlier in the season, which gave them time to readjust some things before potentially seeing the same team again.
“If we wanted to win out, then we had to prepare ourselves mentally because our skills were there all along, it was just believing in ourselves and our skills,” Marilyn Jones, CCA JV and varsity head coach, said. “This did not happen just this season. We have been together as a team, and for many playing together since seventh grade … It has been a long time in developing them as players, but now we have that mindset of winning, and that was definitely the edge we needed to finish out (the season) strong.”
In the state tournament, CCA cruised to the final, but First Assembly Christian School from Ashland beat Victory Christian in the semifinals to annul the rematch. The Patriots went into the final with little knowledge about FACS, and the first set was a close win for CCA. However, the Patriots won the second and third sets handily to sweep the championship game.
“They have prepared themselves to win, and you could tell after we hit our stride,” Jones said.
The Patriots had three players named to the All-Tournament Team, including state tournament MVP Milly Avery. The junior brings a lot of energy to the team and attacks the ball well. Jones described her as “having the factor about her that can change the dynamic of a team in a positive way.”
“It was great, and I was very impressed with our team and we played very well as a team,” Avery said. “Considering how good we did in the championship game, I think we will do good at Nationals (too).”
Senior middle Grace Davis joined Avery on the All-Tournament Team and is an aggressive player who plays hard at the net with great blocking skills. Junior Chelsea Oliver was the final player on the All-Tournament Team CCA and is their serve leader. She set the school record for consecutive serves with 18 and plays six rotations for the Patriots.
The NACA National Tournament is divided into four divisions based on certain criteria such as season record, past program success and the number of students enrolled at the school. CCA entered the tournament as a Division 4 team because it is their first time attending the tournament. However, when they received their schedules, they were put in Division 2.
“Obviously, if we play to win and play our best we will have a good, competitive time there,” Jones said. “This will be our first experience there, and we do not know much about the teams we are playing. We are just going to do what we did here at home, and hopefully that will translate into winning out there as well.”
CCA is guaranteed at least one game per day at the NACA National Tournament from Oct. 24-27.
CCA’s junior varsity team won their state tournament after an unbeaten season at 10-0. The Patriots lost only two sets all season, which came to a team in a higher division than them, leaving them unbeaten in sets and matches in their division during the 2023 season.
In the state championship game, CCA came from behind to win the first set after being down early. They captured the second set to sweep the title game 2-0 over Trinity Christian School in Oxford.
“This team just really made it a purpose to play as a team,” Jones said. “They decided they wanted it enough and we won it in two (sets), and that was really exciting for them. We have really good parent support in that group, and they are very encouraging of their kids and are really about the team mentality. That makes a big difference as well.”
The junior varsity team also had three players on the All-Tournament Team — freshmen Emma Camp, Hayden Lowery and Susan Atchison. Atchison was named the MVP of the state tournament as well.
“It was good (winning the JV championship), and I was very proud of our team,” Atchison said. “We definitely played really good together … The girls are awesome, and I love playing with them.”
2023 Chilton Christian Academy Patriots Varsity Roster
Susan Atchison, Milly Avery, Emma Camp, Rosalie Casey, Grace Davis, Savannah Johnson, Tristan Lyon, Kaitlyn Maddox, Chelsea Oliver, Reagan Robinson, Kayton Smitherman and Karmyn Smitherman
2023 Chilton Christian Academy Patriots Junior Varsity Roster
Susan Atchison, Emma Camp, Rosalie Casey, Molly Hand, Olivia Hubbard, Hayden Lowery, Michaela Lund, Madyson McCary, Adison Polk and Ella Solomon