Ariel Johnson’s first season as Crossville’s varsity volleyball coach established a high standard for her future teams to aim.
The Lions ended the year ranked No. 10 in the Class 5A poll and posted a 34-15 record. The 34 wins are one of the best single-season totals in program history.
Crossville claimed the regular-season 5A, Area 13 title, which allowed it to host the postseason area tournament.
The Lions defeated Douglas 25-20, 25-10, 25-17 and Sardis 25-17, 25-17, 25-18 to win their first area tournament championship in four years.
Keyston Henderson led CHS with 21 kills. She also contributed 22 digs and five aces.
Karly Bankston closed with 15 kills and two blocks, and Marisa Hunt collected 51 assists and 17 digs. Kinsley Henderson finished with 28 digs and five aces.
Crossville’s season ended with a loss to No. 3 Alexandria in the North Super Regional in Huntsville. Alexandria lost to eventual champion Jasper in the AHSAA Elite Eight State semifinals in Birmingham.
“I have been extremely proud of how far the girls have come from the beginning of the summer to where they ended up,” Johnson said. “They put in so much work every day and really started to find their stride as they grew closer.
“We would not be the team we were without the senior leadership of Marisa Hunt, Keyston Henderson and Karly Bankston. Those girls took the younger players under their wing and mentored them.
“The season ended sooner than we had hoped, but I am proud of all their accomplishments. From being regular-season area champs, hosting area and winning the area tournament, these girls set goals and went and achieved big things.”