HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Wallace State’s 13th-ranked volleyball team rolled through the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) Tournament over the weekend as it did during the conference regular season.
The Lions swept three opponents in as many days at Traditions Bank Arena inside Tom Drake Coliseum, capping the tournament championship with a 25-15, 25-11, 25-15 triumph over Snead State.
It’s the second straight tournament title for Wallace State volleyball and the 12th in 13 seasons. The Lions have captured two ACCC Tournament championships in eight months after the 2020 season was delayed until the Spring 2021 semester.
With three wins, the Lions improved to 41-6 overall. They’ve won 25 consecutive matches.
“Every championship is special because each team has a different story. We’ve leaned on the leadership of the sophomores all season. They’ve helped ease the freshmen into learning what college volleyball is all about,” said Wallace State coach Randy Daniel, the all-time winningest coach in program history. “I’m proud of this team and proud of how they played the past three days.”
Wallace State’s success has been propelled this season by the sophomore trio of outside hitter Haven Hall, setter Savannah Rutledge, and libero Temperance Chatman and the conference tournament was no different.
Hall, a Geraldine native, was named Tournament MVP. She had 39 kills combined, registering 13 kills apiece in each match.
Hall has compiled a conference-best 484 kills this season.
Rutledge and Chatman were All-Tournament selections.
Rutledge, a NJCAA 2nd-team All-American last season, became Wallace State’s all-time leader in career assists during Saturday’s victory over Coastal Alabama-South (25-21, 25-19, 26-21).
Rutledge, an Albertville native, finished the tournament with 113 assists and 28 digs and also set the school’s single-season assists record with 1,591. She was also named the 2021 ACCC Player of the Year.
Chatman has served as the defensive stalwart. She recorded 80 digs in the tournament, setting the single-season digs record (738) in Sunday’s match.
“Life is more comfortable when you can rely on three players like Haven, Savannah and Temperance. They’re among the best in program history. You know you can put a ball away with those three on the court,” Daniel said.
The latest championship was special for the trio.
“We beat every opponent in three sets and that’s a great accomplishment, no matter who it is. It’s awesome to be part of a great team that’s always encouraging and is committed on and off the court,” Hall said.
Added Rutledge: “It’s exciting to win. We were consistent throughout the tournament and stayed hot. It’s important to us because the streak ended the year before we came in as freshmen. We’re starting a new streak.”
Added Chatman, of Jasper: “You want to be a part of excellence and keep the legacy going. We played excellent in the tournament. Our freshmen have grown up since the beginning of the season, and that’s made us better.”
Madeline Snow, an outside hitter from Mortimer Jordan, was also named to the All-Tournament team for the Lions. Snow finished the three-day event with 32 kills and 18 digs.
Freshman Daisy Manasco racked up 32 digs and 27 kills for Wallace State in the three-day event. Chloe Shadden added 13 digs.
“Daisy Manasco stepped up in all three matches. She easily could have been an All-Tournament selection,” Daniel said.
With the conference title in hand, Wallace State is the top seed in the Gulf Atlantic District Tournament, which the Lions will host, beginning Friday. The two-day event features Wallace State, Snead State, Coastal Alabama-South and Monroe (N.Y.) College. The top two advance to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I National Championship on Nov. 18-20 in Hutchinson, Kan.
Wallace State’s last loss was Sept. 10 against Glendale (Ariz.) College.
The Lions earned the tournament’s top seed after winning their 14th straight ACCC regular-season championship.
Other members of the team not already listed are Madison Raybon, Tobi Trotter, Laci Reese, Lexi Shadix, Ashlen Heatherly, Megan Edmond, Grace Allen, Mallie Williams, Abi Orton, Kade Milne and Teagan Hartman.
Wallace State athletics won three conference championships over a three-day span. The school’s men’s and women’s cross country teams won the ACCC meet on Friday.