Lady Vols 4th in final AA volleyball ratings

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AJ earns top 5 ranking

By Robert Howey




The Andrew Jackson Lady Volunteers volleyball team finished the 2010 campaign ranked in the top five of the Class AA state high school poll.

The Lady Vols, who won the Conference IV-AA title and advanced to the third round, were ranked in a tie for fourth with Academic Magnet in the final Class AA state rankings released this week.

Bishop England, which won the Class AA state volleyball title at White Knoll High School, was ranked first followed by Woodruff, the Upper State champion and Class AA state runner-up.

The Lady Wolverines were followed by Keenan and AJ along with Academic Magnet.

Keenan defeated AJ, which finished 22-9, in the third round of the Class AA Upper State playoffs. Woodruff then defeated Keenan for the Upstate title and a bid to the Class AA state title match against the B-E Lady Bishops.

Teams 6-10 in the final Class AA state poll were Broome, Liberty, Dillon, Waccamaw and Crescent and Gilbert which tied for 10th.

The Lady Vols of first-year AJ coach John Verdugo earned the Class AA Upper State playoff berth as the Conference III-AA champion after defeating Indian Land, 3-2 in a special play-off match in the Lancaster High School gym.

The Lady Vols’ region title was their first since the 2002 season.

Callie Dixon, a junior outside hitter for the Lady Vols, was named to the Class AA all-state volleyball team. Dixon along with Chelsea Holden, AJ’s captain and setter, were selected to the all-region team with Holly Ingram and Abby Faulkenberry.

The Andrew Jackson season included the Conference IV-AA championship after the Lady Vols defeated Indian Land 3-2 in the special play-off match at LHS last month. AJ also won the Lancaster County preseason tournament at LHS in late August and took the silver bracket championship in the North Central High School tournament.

AJ opened the Class AA Upstate playoffs with a 3-0 win over Strom Thurmond and then defeated Crescent 3-2 in a second-round home win over CHS Lady Tigers.

In the final Class A state poll, North Central was ranked No. 6.


Helms works AA

state title match

Lancaster County had one representative at the state championship matches in the White Knoll High School gym on Nov. 6.

Gayle Helms, a Lancaster native and four-year volleyball official, worked the Class AA state title match between Bishop England and Woodruff.

Helms served as a line judge in the match.

“I enjoyed every minute,” Helms said. “I made some good friends and met new people. There’s a certain amount of camardarie when officials get together.

“You get to talking about a match you’ve called and then there’s that common bond you share with the other officials,” Helms said.

Helms was one of five officials from District 9 to call the state title matches. District 9 includes York, Chester, Lancaster and parts of Chesterfield and Kershaw counties.

Brown Simpson, the district director out of Rock Hill, worked the matches along with Brian Rogers, Drew Hefner and Doug Speight.

“Calling volleyball games is something I got into a few years back,” Helms said. “It’s a fast game and the play is so good. You have to be on your toes, but I really enjoy calling games and working with the coaches, players and other officials.”

Helms is a 27-year veteran of working prep softball games, which includes calling the 2000 North-South All-Star game and the Class A state championship game.