Press Pass Sports 2023 Volleyball Team

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Graphic and photos [Joe Garcia III/ Press Pass Sports]
The Texas High School Volleyball season came to a close, and it was another unbelievable year for the Texas Panhandle.

Here’s a look at the 2023 Press Pass Sports Volleyball team.

Photo by Joe Garcia III

Coach of the Year

Jason Culpepper, Bushland 

For the third time in four years, Bushland head volleyball coach Jason Culpepper earns the honor of the 2023 Press Pass Sports Volleyball Coach of the Year after leading his Lady Falcons to a third UIL Class 3A state championship in his five-year tenure at the school.

The Lady Falcons fell short a year ago to rival Gunter in the state championship, but in a new year with a much different team, Culpepper and his Lady Falcons came together to down the Lady Tigers in four-sets to reclaim the state title and finish an unbelievable year at 43-6.

“This was a fun year,” Culpepper said. “We had lost some really good seniors, but we had some new players come in and step up. They did anything we asked of them. We hit our stride late and came together at the right time.”

Bushland continues its strong tradition since its doors opened in 2006 with the program winning a prestigious seventh state championship in 12 appearances.

Culpepper’s reputation is locked in as one of the best coaches in Texas Panhandle history, making 13 trips to the UIL state tournament with four state championships under his belt. He’s also closing in on a special milestone sitting at 789 wins in 23 seasons as a head coach.

“Each championship is special,” said Culpepper, who has compiled a 789-179 record over his career. “It’s just amazing to see how different each one is and getting to cherish it with different players. Bushland is great for me and we love it here. We just want to continue to build on what we’ve done and continue this legacy.”

Photo by Joe Garcia III

Player of the Year

Jordyn Gove, Randall, outside hitter, Sr. 

For a second straight year, Randall’s dominant outside hitter Jordyn Gove has been named the Press Pass Sports Player of the Year.

Gove has given everything she has to the Lady Raider program helping Randall to 83 wins over the past two years, a 2022 UIL Class 4A state championship, and a state runner-up finish this year.

“I couldn’t be more thankful for program I stepped into and players before me made me player I am,” Gove said. “Looking back now it’s amazing to see. Not a lot of players have the opportunity to play in a program like I have and see that success. I just want to leave this program better going forward for those coming up in the future.”

Randall head coach Haleigh Burns said it’s been a true pleasure coaching a player the caliber of Gove.

“Jordyn has been the definition of what we’ve accomplished,” Burns said. “She is an incredible leader. She has put her entire heart into this season, and it has shown. Not every day was perfect or pretty but she showed up and gave her all to this program and we are benefitted because of that. I’m proud of her and all the work she has put in. I love Jordyn and I’ve been grateful to be her coach.”

The fully electric and energetic Gove leaves as a two-time District 4-4A MVP, a 2022 State Tournament MVP, and a two-time All-State selection.

Gove finished her fantastic senior season with a team-best 763 kills to go with 462 digs and 44 blocks. For her career, Gove totaled an incredible 1,916 kills with 1,653 digs.

“Every season is different, and I had another different role this year,” Gove said. “My junior year I wanted to step up for seniors and then your senior year is your last so you’re in control and want to be your best and not let anyone down. I feel I just went out there and left everything I had for the Lady Raiders and I’m proud of that.”

Photo by Joe Garcia III

Newcomer of the Year

Lilyann Shannon, Bushland, outside hitter, Jr. 

Getting her opportunity, Shannon became a reliable asset for head coach Jason Culpepper and a huge part of why the Bushland Lady Falcons won their third UIL Class 3A state championship in four years. Shannon was named the District 1-3A Newcomer of the Year and was also added to the Class 3A State Tournament team. Shannon finished her breakout season with 383 kills, and 82 blocks.

Photo by Chase Seabolt/ Press Pass Sports]

Fighting heart Award

Meredith Sanning, Tascosa, setter, Sr. 

Sanning was one of the most valuable players in many ways over her career for the Tascosa Lady Rebels. The two-time District 3-5A Setter of the Year was the heart and soul of a Tascosa (30-15 overall) team that reached the Region I-5A Tournament for the first time since the 2010 season. Sanning was a tremendous weapon on both sides finishing the 2023 campaign with 1,438 assists to go with 380 digs and 59 aces.

FIRST TEAM

Photo by Joe Garcia III

Sienna Cavalier, Amarillo High, outside hitter, Jr.

The hard-hitting junior thrived in a much-improved junior season for an Amarillo High Lady Sandie team that finished the year as the District 3-5A champions with a 37-6 mark. Cavalier was the leader of the team, and it showed by being named the District 3-5A MVP totaling 422 kills with 370 digs.

Photo by Joe Garcia III

Abby Howell, Bushland, outside hitter, Sr.

No one worked harder than Howell to get better each and every year for the Bushland Lady Falcons. Finally, being a senior, finally becoming the leader, Howell thrived in her role and was able to celebrate her second state volleyball championship as a part of the Lady Falcons. Howell, the District 1-3A Offensive MVP and Region I-3A Tournament MVP, finished the year with 670 kills, 30 digs and 58 aces.

Photo by Joe Garcia III

Kyndal Blair, Hereford, outside hitter, Sr.

Blair wrapped up an outstanding career leading Hereford to a regional quarterfinal run. The District 4-4A Offensive Player of the Year, and passionate captain of the Lady Whitefaces ended the season with a 379 hitting percentage and averaged three blocks a game.

Photo by Joe Garcia III

Mackenzie Sims, Bushland, setter, Jr.

Following in the footsteps of the amazing sisters in front of her, Mackenzie Sims made her own name with not only a breakout season but leaving her legacy at the UIL Class 3A state tournament. Sims, the District 1-3A MVP, was named the Class 3A State Tournament MVP tallying a triple-double with 30 assists, 15 kills and 10 digs. Sims ends her junior season leading the team with 853 assists, 323 kills and 313 digs.

Photo by Joe Garcia III

Sidney Soria, Randall, setter, Jr. 

The human highlight reel was better than ever as a junior helping Randall back to the UIL Class 4A state tournament for a second straight year. The two-time District 4-4A Setter of the Year can make plays that leave fans stunned and is a key cog for the Lady Raider offense. On the year, Soria totaled an eye-popping 1,793 assists with 445 digs and 408 kills. For her career, Soria has already stacked up 3,417 assists.

Photo by Joe Garcia III

McCall Sims, West Plains, Libero, Sr.

Sims was the heart and soul of a West Plains Lady Wolves team that won 40 games and reached the Region I-4A Tournament in only their second year as a program. The senior and District 4-4A Defensive Player of the Year, was a specialist hitting the floor for 805 digs, adding 128 assists and 43 aces.

SECOND TEAM

Brooke Henderson, Randall, outside hitter, Jr. 

Henderson came on the scene in a big way helping be a compliment to Jordyn Gove and the Randall offense. The District 4-4A First-Team selection ended the year with 475 digs to go with 408 kills.

Jayli Franklin, West Plains, outside hitter, Sr.

While McCall Sims provided the defense, Jayli Franklin provided the offense for West Plains. The hard hitting senior and First-Team District 4-4A selection led the Lady Wolves with 371 kills with 340 digs.

Avery Conner, Sanford-Fritch, outside hitter, Sr.

Conner was the leader of a Sanford-Fritch squad that won the outright District 1-2A championship and made another nice playoff run. The District 1-2A MVP was awesome all year for the Lady Eagles racking up 407 kills with 70 blocks and 47 digs.

London Baker, Hereford, setter, Jr.

The Hereford setter continued her great career putting together a solid season for a Lady Whiteface team that made it three rounds deep in the UIL Class 4A playoffs. Baker averaged a double-double with 28 assists and 12 digs per match.

Reyna Segovia, Wildorado setter, Sr.

Behind the effort of Segovia, the Wildorado Lady Mustangs put together an incredible season by winning the outright District 1-1A title and reaching the Region I-1A Tournament with a 21-6 record. Segovia, the District 1-1A Offensive MVP, put together a double-double per night averaging 22 assists and 15 digs a contest.

Bird Moffitt, Amarillo High, Libero, Jr.

The District 3-5A Co-Defensive MVP stepped up and came into her own as a junior for the Amarillo Lady Sandies. Moffitt showed her defensive talent night in and night out by totaling 470 digs with 35 aces.

Utility players

Kassidy Langleland, Tascosa, Libero, Jr. 

The District 3-5A Co-Defensive MVP had one heck of a year as a part of a Tascosa Lady Rebel squad that made the Region I-5A Tournament for the first time in 13 years. Langleland proved her worth with 645 digs and 52 aces.

Ryan Pennington, Amarillo High, outside hitter, Sr. 

The senior and District 3-5A Offensive MVP was a tremendous compliment for Sienna Cavalier and the Amarillo High Lady Sandies. Pennington finished a great season with 291 kills, 51 blocks and 39 aces.

Honorable mentions 

(Class 5A-1A) 

Blair Pennington, Amarillo High, opposite, Sr.

Lilianna Rangel, Caprock, setter, Sr,

Erin Mims, Palo Duro, outside hitter, Sr.

Molly Culp, Tascosa, outside hitter, Jr.

Kandree Perez, Randall, middle blocker, Sr.

Brooklyn Garcia, West Plains, middle blocker, Sr.

Allee Purcella, Hereford, outside hitter, Sr.

Sydnee Winfrey, Canyon, middle blocker, Jr.

Landri Jay, Canyon, Libero, Jr.

Maecie Hawthorne, Pampa, setter, Jr.

Rylee Schacher, Dumas, middle blocker, Jr.

Avery Ramos, Bushland, Libero, Jr.

Reese DeHart, River Road, setter, Jr.

Dylan Moore, Dalhart, middle blocker, Sr.

Kammi Maddox, Dalhart, middle blocker, So.

Emily Gaines, Dalhart, outside hitter, Jr.

Reese Stowers, Friona, outside hitter, Sr.

Jacee Burney, Friona, outside hitter, Sr.

Aubree Bunker, Friona, middle blocker, So.

Kaylnn Roberts, Sanford-Fritch, outside hitter, Sr.

Jaz Martinez, Vega, outside hitter, Jr.

Zoe Smith, West Texas High, Libero, Jr.

Mercedes Ewing, Miami, outside hitter, Sr.

Sonnell VanWyk, Wildorado, setter, Jr.

Jovi Perkins, Wildorado, Libero, Sr.

Ali Mahler, Fort Elliott, middle blocker, So.

Aliyah McCarter, Fort Elliott, middle blocker, So.

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