Bob Jones Volleyball Has “Big Energy” As Nationally Ranked Team
MADISON- The Bob Jones varsity volleyball team is playing a “Big Energy” style of play. After posting a perfect 33-0 record, nailing down the No. 1 spot in the Class 7A state rankings and moving up to as high as No. 13 in the country, the Lady Patriots fell to Mountain Brook 25-20, 18-25, 12-15 in the finals of the Heff Strong Tournament posting its first loss of the 2023 season.
“It happens. Even the best teams suffer a loss and we will learn from the loss and don’t dwell on it,” said Meg Jarrett, one of five seniors on the 2023 squad.
Fellow senior Abby Harbin concurred, saying, “I looked at the bright side as the loss took off the pressure and will help us into the post-season. We’re determined to make up for it.”
Within the 33-game win streak, the Patriots set a school record when it won match No. 21 while winning the Tournament of Champions held in Guntersville. In that weekend event, Jarrett led the way with 64 digs. Riley Lovell had 101 assists and 33 digs and Kennedy Vaughn totaled 66 kills, nine blocks and 18 digs to help keep the season-opening win streak alive.During one week 12-win stretch, Lovell had 165 assists, 47 digs and 10 service aces while Jarrett totaled 142 digs. The numbers don’t lie, but it is a total team effort in posting its 34-1 record.
“This team is focused and determined as they don’t lose sight of the journey they are on as each girl has thoughts on the big picture at the end of the season,” said head coach Jenny Jarrett. “They are good at focusing on the next game.”
Harbin described the team as exciting, always pumped up with “Big Energy.” “We bounce off each other and we play for each other and we always stay positive,” she added. “Our personalities mesh together and our team chemistry is awesome.”
Latest statistics show a wide variety of talent posting impressive numbers on the court. Included are: Kennedy Vaughn (OH, 5-11, Jr.) 317 kills, .301 hitting percentage, 43 blocks, 83 digs, 20 aces; Meg Jarrett (L, 5-8, Sr.) 358 digs, 93 assists, 2.36 SR rating, 30 aces; Riley Lovell (S, 5-6, Jr.) 507 assists, 38 aces, 172 digs, 30 kills; Eliza Tyrrell (OH, 5-9, Sr.) 204 kills, .289 hitting percentage, 80 blocks, 30 aces, 49 digs; Rachel Mecklenburg (OPP/S, 5-9, Sr.) 137 kills, 297 assists, 153 digs, 26 blocks, 22 aces; Kali Beigh (DS, 5-4, Jr.) 176 digs, 40 aces, 2.11 SR rating, 19 assists.
“Kennedy leads the state in kills and our other junior class players have all stepped up, along with our two sophomores, Mya Lacey (MH, 5-9, So.) and Kendall Buckley (OPP, OH, 6-0, So.),” said Coach Jarrett. “We have a good combination of class participation as our team is made up of a good mix of ages.”
“We have a lot of young players who have come a long way since summer workouts,” added Meg Jarrett. “This is a selfless team.”
The winning run came off a disappointing finish in 2022 as the Patriots fell to McGill-Toolen 3-1 in the State Championship match. The squad was oh-so-close to taking the title and finished the season at 51-7. That loss sparked the energy level during the off-season and has continued to this point in the 2023 schedule as earlier in the season the Patriots achieved “revenge” from their loss by defeating McGill-Toolen in a head-to-head match.
“That was the best moment of the season so far for me,” said Harbin. “That match was a big deal for us after last year’s season-ending loss as we put our heart and soul into that game. With the win, we also found out how well we worked together as a team.”
To remind each player about their goal for this season of making it back to the State Championship and win what would be the program’s third state title, the team wears T-shirts that read “We Will Be Back.”
“This team really surprises me how they find the energy and focus at every match as they continue to compete and not get complacent,” added Coach Jarrett.
The remainder of the season schedule includes playing in the Shrimp Fest Tournament in Gulf Shores just prior to the Area and Super Regional Tournaments, but the Lady Patriots already have their sights set on the State Tournament Nov. 1-2 and are doing so with “Big Energy.”