The best of District 15-A could be a new team this year. Trinity Christian Academy and Madison headed the district in the first five years of existence, but Middleton claimed one of those two spots last year.
Middleton has a chance this season to win its first district championship.
The Lady Tigers return the nucleus of last year’s team that advanced out of the district tournament for the first time.
Junior Megan Leslie is back at setter with multiple options to get the ball to on attack.
Senior Christian Woods has been the catalyst to Middleton’s recent success with her ability to hit, but other players like senior Jazmine Cosby, junior Talandra Sain and sophomore Polly Dowty also have the ability to get the ball down.
TCA reached the Class A state championship match before losing to perennial power Goodpasture.
The Lady Lions though graduated six of their top seven players, so they will have a new look this year. Clare Taylor, The Jackson Sun’s 2014 Volleyball Player of the Year, was one of those six players who graduated.
Katie Tillman is the lone starter back this season. Tillman set the state record for digs in a match against Goodpasture last year in the state tournament.
Anna Claire Winchester is expected to be a leader on the back row as a junior.
Madison had a rebuilding year last season, but the Lady Mustangs should be better this year with that year of experience behind them.
Scotts Hill is also a program that has been building, and this might be the year the Lions make the move into the top two of the district and earn a berth into the region tournament.
In the six years since Class A-AA was split into two classes, teams that advanced out of District 15-A have reached the state tournament.
15-A teams have swept Memphis competition in the Region 8-A tournament before meeting back up with West Tennessee teams in sectionals.
Trenton Peabody and Halls have advanced out of Region 7-A all six years, too, but neither has gotten that final win to reach the state tournament.
Region 7-A has six teams this year — Halls, Peabody, Union City, Humboldt, Gibson County and Lake County — with Lake County adding the sport this season.
Halls and Peabody will again be favored to reach sectionals this year. The Lady Tide are young this season with two seniors on the roster in Destiny Mayberry and Courtney Starks.
Michael Odom, 425-9754