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Bishop England High School
Daniel Island

 

BEHS volleyball going through youth movement

By C.R. Cumbee

Staff Writer

Daniel Island — The Bishop England volleyball program has put together one of the most iconic streaks in high school sports history, having captured 18 consecutive state championships.

However, this season has been a bit different for the Bishops and head coach Cindy Baggott. The team was very young and inexperienced this fall, and currently has a record of 20-31-2. However, they have continued to improve each week and find themselves with a chance to make it 19 titles in a row.

“We knew what we had ahead of us. We only had two girls back that played in the state championship match last year,” Baggott said. “It’s been an interesting year. We didn’t worry about wins and losses. We wanted to see them grow. We got hammered by Lexington and River Bluff to start the season, and when we played them later in the year it was neck and neck.  The talent is there, but I don’t think our record is indicative of our growth as a team.”

Bishop England will see a familiar opponent in the Class AAA finals.  Powdersville, who won the first two sets in the 2017 finals, is ready to exact revenge.  But the Bishops have been tested against the likes of Gilbert and Battery Creek in the previous two rounds.

BEHS has been led by setter Kelsey Stieby and middle hitter Madeline White. Stieby has 980 assists, 365 digs and 54 aces while White has a team-high 308 kills.

“They’ve definitely been the leaders.  Kelsie runs the offense and is approaching 2,000 career assists. Madeline is probably my best hitter.  They’ve carried us this year,” Baggott said.

Joining those two in the initial rotation is defensive specialist Sydney Scott, libero/outside hitter Shawna Swanson (465 digs), right side hitter Gabby Stuart and middle hitter Ella Schar

Jillian McManus has also seen time as a libero while Brianna Blanchard gets time on the front row.

Along with Stuart and Schar, there are several other freshmen on the team this season, including defensive specialist/outside hitter Hope-Elaine Stowell, defensive specialist Cathryn Shippee, setter Leah Zimlich and middle/right side hitter AC McInnis.

“In a way, they’re fearless because they’re so young. They make mistakes, but it’s not because they’re timid or afraid.  It’s just inexperience,” Baggott said.

Junior Ryleigh O’Brien and sophomore Carly Searson round out the roster on the back row.

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