The Texas High School Volleyball season came to a close, and it was another stellar year for the Texas Panhandle.
Here’s a look at the 2022 Press Pass Sports Volleyball team.
Coach of the Year
Haleigh Burns, Randall
Randall head volleyball coach Haleigh Burns earns the 2022 Press Pass Sports Coach of the Year honor for guiding her Lady Raiders to their first University Interscholastic Class 4A state championship since 2009 and only the second in program history.
Randall went from underrated and off the radar at the first of the season to contenders when they went 16-0 in a very good District 4-4A and then stayed hot all the way through the state tournament sweeping Huffman Hargrave and Aubrey to claim the prestigious state trophy finishing 40-8 overall.
“I loved watching the team grow together and have so much fun,” Burns said. “They believed they could do it every time they went on the court. A lot of people didn’t give us a chance and we all believed in what we were doing. We all cared about each other, and we had great chemistry.”
Chemistry is the key word when talking about this year’s Randall team. Lady Raider junior and leader Jordyn Gove says that’s what separates Burns from other coaches.
“She always has everyone’s back,” Gove said. “Having her coach me is really special. She has a special bond with every player on their own level. She wants us to be the best players we can be but she’s more worried about the people we’ll be off the court. I can’t imagine playing for anyone else. I love coach Burns.”
Burns completed her eighth total season as a head coach after a four-year stint at her Alma mater Caprock, and now four years at Randall. She’s become an instant winner during that short time winning 73 games at Caprock and now compiling a 128-32 mark at Randall. The Texas Panhandle product even got to celebrate a special milestone at the state tournament winning her 200th career game in the semifinals against Huffman Hargrave, then the sweeter No. 201 with a state title win over Aubrey. Winning a state title has even put her in rare air with other Texas Panhandle greats.
“Joining names like Jan Barker, Jason Culpepper, Jack Wilson and Brenda Kitten, who all won state championships is so special to me,” Burns said. “I’ve worked my entire coaching career to be like those names. I’ve played against them as a player, and now coached against them. It’s crazy to me but I still have a lot to learn but to win a state title and join those names up here is truly remarkable.”
Player of the Year
Jordyn Gove, Randall, outside hitter, Jr.
Gove is the heart and soul of a Randall team that went from unranked and underrated in August to UIL Class 4A state champion by mid-November.
The highly energetic outside hitter left everything she had every time she stepped on the court during the season and for that the junior has earned the 2022 Press Pass Sports Volleyball Player of the Year.
“Jordyn is such a special athlete,” Randall head coach Haleigh Burns said. “I don’t have to ask her to work hard, she just does it. It helps when one of your best players is your hardest worker. She is a workhorse, and she gives up so much of her time to get in shape and be a leader. She put the team on her back at times, but she always gives her teammates credit. She just wants to win, and she fuels our fire.”
Gove let her play as much as her emotions on the court do the talking slamming home a team-best 678 kills with a .289 hitting percentage. Gove added 548 digs, 70 aces and 33 blocks. For playing at such a high level in the big moments Gove racked up every accolade a Texas High School volleyball player could get. Gove was the Class 4A State Tournament MVP averaging a double-double in wins over Huffman-Hargrave and Aubrey, she was the District 4-4A MVP, a Texas Girls Coaches Association All-State selection as well as being named to the Region I-4A All-Tournament team. Despite all those decorations, Gove was just happy to be a part of a Randall squad that shared a special bond.
“We just had so much fun every day,” said Gove, who’s Randall team finished the year at 40-8 overall. “We looked forward to going to practice all the time. We didn’t waste reps and we always worked hard. There were also fun days, but we were always focused. I saw the potential in us early in the year and I wanted to take this team to another level. Toward the end of the season, we all gelled and showed out the best we could. It was awesome.”
Newcomer of the Year
Sidney Soria, Randall, setter, Sr.
Soria seems far from a newcomer the way she ran the Randall offense. But despite a veteran-like presence, it was Soria’s first year on the varsity scene, and what a splash the sophomore made. The TGCA All-State selection was a key cog that earned Randall’s first state championship since 2009. Playing with an energetic passion and making it difficult for defenses to figure out with her knack for passing, the District 4-4A setter of the year totaled 1,624 assists with 176 kills and 30 aces.
“Sidney is such a fun player to coach,” Randall head coach Haleigh Burns said. “She’s one of the hardest workers in our gym. She’ll do anything I ask, and people love playing with her. They believe in her and she genuinely cares about her teammates. She’s always loving and hugging them. She’ll do anything to make a team better and she’s just amazing running the offense. I loved that people saw her and realized she was just a sophomore.”
Fighting heart Award
Nickilah Whatley, Hereford, middle blocker, Sr.
Whatley has been one of the most valuable players in more ways than one over her four-year career with the Lady Whitefaces. The TGCA All-State selection started all four seasons for a very successful Hereford program. Whatley is a six-rotation middle blocker that could play the back row and often led the team in passing percentage. Over her career she grew to be a tremendous offensive weapon and a leader. Whatley finished her 2022 campaign with 474 kills with .306 hitting percentage, 164 blocks and 356 digs.
Kaela Neie, Bushland, outside hitter, Sr.
The hard-hitting senior thrived during another huge year for the Bushland Lady Falcons who made it back to the UIL Class 3A state tournament for a fourth straight year. Neie, a TGCA All-State selection, finished her senior campaign as the District 1-3A Co-Offensive MVP knocking down 675 kills with 99 digs, 39 blocks and 32 aces.
Camryn Blair, Hereford, outside hitter, Sr.
Blair wrapped up a terrific varsity career leading Hereford to a 37-9 record and a run to the Region 1-4A championship game. The TGCA All-State selection was named District 4-4A Offensive Player of the Year, ending her season with 537 kills and 67 blocks.
Mikalie Floyd, Pampa, outside hitter, Sr.
Not many athletes have had the four-year career that Floyd has had for the Lady Harvesters. The District 4-4A First Team selection ended a fantastic senior season tallying 418 kills to go with 321 kills and 45 blocks. For her career, Floyd finished with 1,452 kills and 945 digs.
Madyson Eberly, Bushland, middle blocker, Sr.
Eberly was a huge compliment to Kaela Neie as a senior leader of a Bushland Lady Falcon team that made it back to the UIL Class 3A state tournament championship game for a third straight year. Eberly, the District 1-3A Co-Offensive MVP, totaled 544 kills, 65 blocks and 54 aces in 2022. She was also named as a TGCA All-State selection.
Logan Culpepper, Bushland, setter, Sr.
The daughter of Bushland head coach Jason Culpepper wrapped up an incredible career as one of the best setters in the state. The ultimate team leader of the Lady Falcons won back-to-back state championships during her time at Bushland and never missed a UIL Class 3A state tournament. Not only was Culpepper selected as a TGCA All-State player, she was also the District 1-3A MVP and Region I-3A MVP ending a stellar year with 985 assists, 157 digs, 156 kills and 92 aces.
Jada Permenter, Bushland, libero, Sr.
Permenter came on the scene in a hurry in her first season as a starter for Bushland. The defensive specialist and District 1-3A Defensive MVP didn’t let the ball hit the court much, registering 745 digs to go with 90 aces. For her great year Permenter was rewarded as a TGCA All-State selection.
Tori Lowry, Randall, Outside hitter, Sr.
Lowrey became a clutch player and leader for the UIL Class 4A state champions especially down the stretch of the playoffs. The District 4-4A First Team selection piled up 296 kills to go with 99 digs and 27 aces.
Saphina Stanley, Tascosa, outside hitter, So.
The sophomore came as one of the top hitters on the Lady Rebels in 2022. The District 3-5A Offensive Player of the Year showed much progression through the season, finishing her year with 454 kills and 21 blocks.
Jayli Franklin, West Plains, outside hitter, Jr.
The junior and First Team District 4-4A selection had a great year leading West Plains to the third round of the playoffs in the program’s successful first season. Franklin totaled 395 kills on the season with 180 digs, 29 blocks and 20 aces.
Jo Moffitt, Amarillo High, setter, Sr.
Moffitt ended a storied career never losing a District 3-5A match. In her three years on varsity Moffitt compiled an impressive 28-0 mark against district opponents. Moffitt racked up the accolades in 2022 earning TGCA All-State honors and was named the District 3-5A MVP. She ended her senior season with 1,054 assists, 281 digs, 137 kills, 72 aces and 51 blocks. For her career, Moffitt tallied an incredible 2,858 assists.
Mercedes Harton, Highland Park, setter, Sr.
What a year it was for the District 1-2A Most Valuable Player. Harton played a key role in the Lady Hornets run to a Region I-2A championship appearance dishing out 932 assists with 126 aces. Harton went over the 2,000 assists for her career this past year and was named as a TGCA All-State selection.
Tatum Brandt, Randall, Libero, Sr.
Brandt was the leader and backbone of the Class 4A state champion Lady Raiders. Playing with toughness and grit, the District 4-4A Defensive Player of the year hit the floor for 694 digs, made 84 assists with 73 aces. Brandt was also honored by being named as a TGCA All-State selection.
Sienna Cavalier, Amarillo High, OH, So.
Ryan Pennington, Amarillo High, RS, Jr.
Olivia Hurnes, Caprock, OH-MB, Sr.
Olivia Ortiz, Caprock, L, Sr.
Precious Johnson, Palo Duro, MB, Sr.
Meredith Sanning, Tascosa, S, Jr.
Emilee Bridges, Borger, OH, So.
Brooklyn Kinsey, Canyon, MB-S, So.
Sidney Winfrey, Canyon, MB, So.
Rylee Schacher, Dumas, MB, So.
Brooklyn Sianez, Dumas, OH, Sr.
London Baker, Hereford, S, So.
Autumn Wilburn, Hereford, MB, Sr. (TGCA All-State selection)
Maecie Hawthorne, Pampa, S, So.
Mazi Smith, Pampa, OH-MB, So.
Kandree Perez, Randall, MB, Jr.
Brooklyn Henderson, Randall, OH, Sr.
Zenaida Murillo, West Plains, S, Jr.
Brooklyn Garcia, West Plains, MB, Jr.
McCall Sims, West Plains, DS, Jr.
Kenzie Sims, Bushland, S, So.
Adah Henderson, Childress, MB, Sr. (TGCA All-State selection)
Aspen Lomax, Childress, L, Sr.
Avery Baca, Dalhart, MB, Sr.
Reese Stowers, Friona, MB, Jr.
Kitzy Welch, Friona, MB, So.
Rylee Kunkel, River Road, OH-S, Sr.
Kyra Courtemanche, Highland Park, OH Sr. (TGCA All-State selection)
Melanie Koval, Highland Park, MB, Sr.
Braylee Lewis, Highland Park, L, Sr.
Avery Conner, Sanford-Fritch, MB, Jr.
Kami Drinnon, Vega, L, Sr.
Zoe Smith, West Texas High, DS, So.
Mercedes Hartwig, Miami, OH, Jr. (TGCA All-State selection)
Sonell Van Wyk, Wildorado, OH-S, So.
Harlie Brabham, San Jacinto Christian, So.