Sparkman Volleyball Stands Tall In Preps For Playoffs
HARVEST- Incredible. That’s how Chandler Phillips, head coach of the Sparkman volleyball program, described her squad as the post-season of the 2021 high school volleyball season gets underway with the State Tournament set for Oct. 26-28.
Sparkman has a 40-8 overall record and is ranked sixth in the latest state rankings. The squad is the No. 1 seed for the Area Tournament where they’ll be top seed against Albertville, Huntsville and Grissom. The Senators are expected to win the area and advance to the Super Regional Tournament set to be held at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville. A victory there will advance Sparkman to the State Tournament, which is a locale the program has never been in the long school history.
“We were faced with a lot of adversity at the beginning of the season as we dealt with sickness and injuries, but these girls dealt with it well and never complained,” said Phillips. “This team likes each other and that comradery makers everything come together for us on the court.”
The senior-led squad with six senior members spotted on the team roster is led by Aleah Stogner (5-foot-11, OH) who is an All-State performer and recently surpassed 1,000 career kills and over 500 kills for this season. She has remarkable career numbers for the Senators especially from the fact this is her second season with the program after joining a season ago while still playing sand volleyball.
Also playing a big factor in the currently winning season is Allie Cagle (5-6, DS, Sr.) who worked hard to earn a starting position on this year’s squad. Cassie Reasner (5-11, OH, Jr.) leads a group of five juniors on the team roster as she has 53 service aces, 292 kills, and 403 digs. Phillips said Reasner is being heavily recruited by many SEC schools for her talents as shortstop on the Sparkman softball team. “It’s amazing to see her dive for the balls on the court as she is a great athlete and her play as a softball shortstop has helped her in volleyball,” added Phillips.
Junior setter Ariel Fuqua (5-7, S, Jr.) had over 1,000 assists last season where the Senators lost in the Super Regionals. She has the same number in that category this year. Kemora Coachman (5-11, MB, Sr.) has 366 kills and over 100 digs and has stepped up her game for the current campaign.
Phillips is in her second season as head coach after stints at both Hartselle and Decatur High Schools. She played high school volleyball at Hartselle before making her way to college at UAB where she said her coach taught the valuable assets of being a teammate. Phillips said, “She taught that and I experienced that coaching style and I use it with my girls here at Sparkman. We do a lot of team building during the off-season. This squad is loud and happy as we laugh a lot. We know if the girls are happy they play better.”
Sparkman has not lost a regular season match since August and feel much of the schedule against teams from the Birmingham area only makes this team better. “This is the best team I’ve had as a coach. They work for each other,” said Phillips.