WSCC ATHLETICS: No. 12 Wallace State, fueled by record-breaking sophomore trio, begins play at NJCAA Division I National Championship Thursday

Savanna Rutledge (24) sets up teammate Madison Raybon during a postseason match. (WSCC Athletics)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Wallace State volleyball’s 12th-ranked team has been paced all season by three sophomores – Savannah Rutledge, Temperance Chatman and Haven Hall.

All three have etched their respective names in the Wallace State volleyball record books and will continue to add to those marks this week. Wallace State (43-8) opens play Thursday in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division I National Championship at Hutchinson, Kan. The 15th-seeded Lions play No. 2 Butler (Kan.) at 11 a.m. on Thursday in a first-round match.

Rutledge, a 5-foot-10 setter from Albertville, is the program’s all-time assists leader with 2,729 career assists. She has racked up a NJCAA-best 1,732 assists in 51 matches this season, setting the single-season assists mark as well. Rutledge is the 2021 ACCC Player of the Year and was a NJCAA 2nd-team All-American as a freshman.

Chatman, a 5-foot-1 libero from Jasper, leads the NJCAA ranks with 811 digs this season – and it’s also the single-season record for Wallace State volleyball. Additionally, Chatman has a career-best 1,405 digs for the program.

Hall, a 5-foot-9 outside hitter from Geraldine, has 507 kills this season, which was the top mark in the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) and is third nationally. Hall’s 507 kills are the 5th-best in a single season at Wallace State and she’ll creep up even higher after nationals.

Hall was the ACCC Tournament MVP last month as the Lions won their 12th tournament title in 13 seasons. Rutledge and Chatman were All-Tournament selections in both the ACCC and Gulf Atlantic District Tournaments. The program won its 14th straight ACCC regular-season championship.

“Those three have been there when we’ve needed a big play. It’s a great asset to have three sophomores like that in critical positions. It allows you to be consistent as a team,” said Wallace State coach Randy Daniel, who is taking his team to nationals for the 12th time. “Temperance gets things started defensively, Savannah sets up her teammates and Haven is there to put the ball away. It’s a domino effect, and the results are usually good for us. You know you can put a ball away with those three on the court.”

The Wallace State sophomore class is heading to its second NJCAA National Championship in eight months after the 2020 season was delayed until the Spring 2021 semester. It’s the 20th nationals appearance overall for the program.

“You want to be a part of excellence and keep the legacy going when you come to Wallace State,” Chatman said. “We’ve been able to do that.”

All three players have established their respective feats in fewer career matches than many of their predecessors, mainly because their freshman campaigns were shortened because of COVID-19.

Other key contributors for the Lions heading into nationals are Daily Manasco (431 digs and 321 kills), Madeline Snow (292 digs and 279 kills), Madison Raybon (245 kills) and Megan Edmond (220 digs).

Among the record-breaking sophomore trio, Rutledge has added 356 digs and 134 kills. Hall has added 116 digs.

“Savannah, Temperance and Haven are what Wallace State volleyball is all about. They’ve played together for a long time. Their high expectations started years ago. When we’re playing our best as a team, those three are playing their best,” Daniel added.

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