The Bethlehem Christian Academy Volley Knights finished their 2019 season with a regular season overall record of 15-14.
BCA qualified for the GISA Class AAA state tournament where the team had to face three-time state champion The Heritage School. While the season came to a conclusion in that match coach Karen Carlyle said she was proud of her players and what they accomplished on the court.
"As I reflect on this past season, I can say I am honestly proud of my team,” the coach said. “We had several new faces on the varsity team this year, and they worked hard to build a team unity and they were very successful in that. In addition, they played pretty well together too.”
The schedule was a tough one for BCA including region and non-region foes.
“We faced a lot of great competition this year,” Carlyle said. “We struggled most with teams in our region. I think this was probably the most competitive our region has been. That's evident with two of the five teams in our region making it to the Final Four in state this year."
In looking to describe her team the BCA coach said one word that comes to her mind is perseverance.
“I have never had a team that fought this hard the entire game, no matter the score,” Caryle said. “Whether we were behind in points or clearly winning, this team gave 100 percent always. I think that was what set these girls apart."
Four senior captains helped guide the Volley Knights on the court this year. Overall BCA was a senior-led squad. Senior setter Makinna Starkey led the BCA in serving including having the most aces with 62 as well as leading the team in serving percentage. Starkey also had 235 assists for the season.
Senior middle Katherine Gano moved from the outside position this year to lead the team with 201 kills this year and compiled the team's highest hitting percentage.
Gano also had 56 aces and was third on the team in serving percentage. She was also a standout defensively leading the team in blocks.
Senior setter Rebekah Doolittle finished the season with 224 assists. Doolittle also stepped up defensively this season with 142 digs.
Senior libero Brenda Arnaut finished her season with 271 digs this year which helped her break the school record for most career digs (436).
Senior outside Iris Hundeby was strong on both sides of the court this year finishing with 60 kills, 48 aces, and 99 digs. Senior Chey Striplin was also a defensive stand out for the team with senior Sydney LaBollita completing the season with 45 kills and 35 aces.
Senior Sarah Grace Fulford was sidelined much of the season with an injury but was able to get into double digits in kills.
Ella Bourbonnais' was in her first year playing and finished the season as a valuable asset to the team and was able to play well defensively or offensively.
"I was so blessed by these girls this season,” Carlyle said. “For them to come together and play like they did was exciting. When other teams notice their fight while at the same time notice what kind of people they are, that means a lot. My team realizes it's a privilege to be on that court, and they understand our purpose is more than what happens on that court. Our main purpose is to be a light for Christ for other people. And the fact that they did that while also being competitive and winning speaks volumes for their characters."
With the team losing nine seniors to graduation the 2020 campaign will likely be a rebuilding season. Only four players will return from the 2019 roster.
“Luckily, those four juniors saw a lot of playing time with year and are ready to take their starting positions next year," Carlyle said.
Mikayla Torbett started in the middle position this year and ended the season with double digits in blocks as well as 99 kills and 41 aces. Middles Ashleigh Hudson and Morgan Daniel also did well at the net this year. Junior setter Kinsey Smith plans to be working extra in the off-season to take her place starting on the court.
"Besides the returning varsity players, our junior varsity team had a great season finishing 15-5,” Carlyle said. “Of the nine girls on the JV team, eight of those are freshmen this year. Several of those girls will more than likely be on the varsity team so I'm excited to see how they develop in the offseason in preparation for playing on the varsity level."