EDITOR’S NOTE: The COVID-19 pandemic closed Baldwin High School before it could hold its banquets honoring fall sports student-athletes, so coaches have agreed to announce postseason team award recipients here in the newspaper. Coverage continues today with BHS boys and girls cross country, softball and volleyball.
After earning just one win, Baldwin High School volleyball did not have too much to celebrate in 2018.
Not content with that result, the Bravettes returned to the court in 2019 and upped their win total to four, which included the team’s first region win under second-year head coach Yuri Haynes. A 4-11 season record isn’t exactly where the program wants to be, but it was most certainly a step in the right direction as it looks to create momentum for the future.
“I would say we had a positive season,” Haynes said. “There was a lot of improvement from my first year with the team. The girls seemed to buy in a lot more and had that competitive drive. We had a three- or four-game win streak at one point, and we only won one game all of last year… It was amazing to get that first region win. Burke County was a tough team, but they had lost a few players from the previous season. It was tough match that went all the way down to the wire, so that was a really great win for our team.”
The program announces the following awards stemming from the 2019 season.
Harden gets another MVP nod
It has turned out to be a very good senior year for Baldwin’s Dasia Harden. She now has two Most Valuable Player awards (volleyball and basketball) to her name as she caps off a productive high school career. Although she lacks the height most volleyball stars boast, Harden made up for it with her leaping ability and power.
“Dasia always showed up with energy and a good positive work ethic,” Haynes said of her MVP. “I could put her in any position, she was a really versatile player for us.”
In addition to the most valuable player honor, Harden also earned the team’s Hustle Award and Top Tipper recognitions to go along with her All-Region status.
Other awards announced by Coach Haynes in the wake of BHS volleyball’s 2019 campaign include:
- Highest Academic and Best Setter - Mollie Speights;
- Coach’s Award and All-Region - Tykeisha Thornton;
- Super Spiker - Daesha Liggins;
- Best Serve - Megan Simmons;
- Most Improved - Shania Fluellen;
- Best Blocker - Tykeidra Jackson;
- Best Defense - Zy’keria Hightower;
- Best Digger - Ja’Mara Simmons;
- Five-year Player - Mollie Speights;
- Four-year Player - Ja’Mara Simmons;
- Three-year Players - Dasia Harden, Zy’keria Hightower, Tykeidra Jackson, Megan Simmons, Tykeisha Thornton and Zonilya Wilson;
- Two-year Players - Shania Fluellen, KeAmber Farlar and Daesha Liggins;
- First-year Players - Nakiyah Butts and Kennedy Morgan; and
- Team Managers - Bre’Asja Nelson and P’Lair McCormick.
The Bravettes volleyball JV award recipients are:
- MVP - Jada Skeete and Jazmine Walker;
- Coach’s Award and Most Improved - Karma Middlebrooks;
- Super Spiker and Best Serve - Jazmine Walker;
- Hustle Award and Best Digger - Jada Skeete;
- Best Blocker - JaLuyah Callaway;
- Best Defense - A’nya Grable;
- Best Setter - Khailyn Mundie; and
- Top Tipper - Paris Adams.
The future of Baldwin volleyball has both some good news and bad news elements to it. The bad is that the program is losing 10 seniors to graduation, so the 2020 Bravettes will be without a lot of the experience that helped them increase their win total by three over the previous season.
As for the good news, “I was able to pull a lot of eighth-graders this season and get them to play up so they would be a little more prepared,” said Haynes. “So I do have some girls that are very young, but have already gotten their feet wet.”