The past four years have seen the CHS volleyball program go from creation and uncertainty to four district championship titles, and now its second trip to the state tournament. No matter how things turn out at MTSU this week, this volleyball team has come a long way.
On Tuesday, Oct. 9, CHS hosted the West Region Tournament, which culminated in a highly anticipated final match pitting what many say are the top two teams in state against each other in a fight for the regional title. It was an exciting night of volleyball for all in attendance.
The night began with Camden taking care of business against White House Heritage, taking the set in straight games with scores of 25-12, 25-21, and 25-10. Camden was led by strong outside play from Eden Pafford with 15 kills and 21 digs, while her counterpart Briley Hardin put the ball away 12 times. Defensively, Abby Berry led all with 24 digs and 8 aces, while Jordan Vick moved the ball with great accuracy, finishing with 33 assists, 10 digs, and 10 kills.
Portland, last year’s state champs, stepped up in the second match of the evening to finish Fairview’s season with three quick wins. Following this feat, Portland stood ready to meet the Lady Lions on their own home court.
Camden faced off versus Portland in what became a 4-set thriller. The Lady Lions got off to a slow start, down 1-7 versus Portland’s powerful serves, but fought back to finish the first game with a 17-25 loss. Game two was one of the finest Camden has played all year, putting Portland back on their heels with a dominating 25-11 performance.
After the match, Portland’s coach related to Coach Stephen Vick, “That second game, you guys were the greatest team we’ve ever faced, and that was the best defense I’ve ever seen played in a high school match.”
After such intense play, both teams seemed a little shaken. In the third game, however, Portland showed their resolve, edging up to best Camden 25-21. It was a tough game, with extended volleys between teams where the ball just wouldn’t hit the ground.
Camden started strong in the fourth game, jumping ahead with early success in their serves, but couldn’t hang on against Portland’s stellar offense. In only the second loss on their home court in the four seasons, CHS fell to Portland 25-21 in the final game, losing the match and the Regional title.
“In 17 years of coaching, that was the greatest volleyball environment that I have ever witnessed,” proclaimed Vick. “Despite the loss, this will be a night our athletes and our Camden fans will not soon forget.”
The second place regional finish set Camden up to continue to sub-state, and Pafford and Jordan Vick both were named to the All-Region Team at the end of the tournament.
Thursday took Camden to Nolensville, a program they had never faced before. Camden didn’t mess around, and finishing Nolensville in three games straight to take the match and earn the right to move into the top eight bracket.
“Even though we were on the road, we knew that Nolensville never having played us before would be an advantage. Without any knowledge about how aggressive our offense is, they would be caught off guard. It takes time to prepare a defense, and time was on our side,” Coach Vick explained. “Now we’re off to state, and we plan to come back as state champs!”
CHS faced off against East Hamilton in its first game in the top eight on Tuesday afternoon, although the result of that contest was not available at press time. If the CHS team makes the full run, they may have to face Portland twice more before they could claim the title of state champs. Full coverage of the volleyball team’s trip to state will be provided in next week’s edition.