Daily Journal Preseason Volleyball Rankings

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Aug. 6—DAILY JOURNAL PRESEASON VOLLEYBALL RANKINGS

With classification and last year's overall record.

1. Oxford (6A), 29-3

The Lady Chargers started last season 21-0 — without dropping a set — and reached the state finals. Two big-time players were lost to graduation: outside hitter Ainsley Tacke and Daily Journal Player of the Year Catherine Bianco.

But everyone else returns, including outside hitter Brianna Lyons defensive specialist Madison Jones. This will still be a deep, well-rounded team.

2. Belmont (2A), 33-4

The Lady Cardinals captured their first state championship, rolling through the playoffs without dropping a set.

A big part of that run was outside hitter Kate Greene, who has since graduated. Her killing partner, Kerstin Moody, is back after a sophomore season in which she logged 403 kills. Sadie Randolph, a 6-foot-2 sophomore, should be able to ease the loss of Greene.

3. Lafayette (5A), 24-9

The Lady Commodores reached the state finals for the first time after knocking off the previous champ, Lake Cormorant, in the semifinals.

That was Zoe Storck's first and last season on the job. Assistant coach Taylor Huey was promoted to replace her.

Also gone is big-time outside hitter Kailey Gooch, which will put more on the shoulders of Harmony Jackson (224 kills, 23 blocks). Maggie Tower and Sara Wilburn also bring experience to the front line.

4. Alcorn Central (3A), 27-4

The Lady Bears will look a lot different without Mia Griffin, who was a two-time Daily Journal Player of the Year. But there just might be enough returning experience to minimize the fallout of losing such an elite player.

Allie Kirkland and Cayleigh Shipman return on the front line, while libero Sydney Howie (360 digs) and setter Amelia Lancaster (687 assists) are steady veteran hands.

5. Regents (MAIS 2A), 18-15

Don't let the record fool you: The tiny school in Lafayette County fears no one. Among the teams the Lady Lions beat last season were Lafayette, New Hope and Water Valley, and they weren't afraid to take on powers like Jackson Academy and Lake Cormorant.

All but one player is back this year, including All-Area pick Lauren Niemeyer (255 kills, 203 digs).

brad.locke@journalinc.com