For The Tribune

Holly Birdsong said her 2015 Seymour volleyball team had to overcome a lot of adversity to achieve a winning record.

“It has been a trying season with multiple injuries to key players on our team,” she said during the team’s awards program in the school cafeteria on Monday night.

“I am thankful to the younger players that stepped up when we needed them to fill in these positions.”

Birdsong said her team had to overcome injuries to four of the five seniors, plus other aches and pains to post a 21-13 record and a second-place win at the Hoosier Hills Conference Tournament. The Owls lost to Floyd Central in the sectional.

Chandler Clark was one of the seniors who had to overcome an ankle injury, but she came on strong and received the most valuable player and assist awards. She also was named to the Hoosier Hills all-conference first team and academic all-state honorable mention.

“This (MVP) award was voted on by the team and coaching staff,” Birdsong said. “It is given to a player the team felt they depended on the most during the season. (Clark) finished the season with 16 aces, 109 kills, 27 blocks, 200 digs and 471 assists. She will be signing her letter of intent to play at Moorhead State University today.”

Clark, the Owls’ setter, had the fourth-highest assist total in the HHC.

Mollie Borcherding received the Laura Culp Mental Attitude award.

Culp, a 1998 graduate of Seymour High School, helped the Owls win a sectional and a regional her senior year.

She received a scholarship to play volleyball at Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis, and after her sophomore year, she was diagnosed with cancer.

“We have named this award after her so that her legacy could live on,” Birdsong.

Borcherding had 46 attack kills, served 8 aces and had 10 solo blocks, 15 block assists and 26 digs.

Emilee Pollmann received the hitting award, was named all HHC first team and academic all-state first team.

Pollmann, another senior got injured during the season, had 779 attack attempts with 257 kills. In the HHC she had the fifth most attempts, sixth most kills and eighth highest hitting percentage.

To be named academic all-state in volleyball, the player has to be a senior, must have a grade point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale or equivalent, must have a minimum SAT score of 1110 and a minimum ACT score of 24 and must participate in a minimum of 50 percent of the contests in an IHSAA sponsored girls sports program.

Borcherding and Mikayla Fee also were named academic all-state honorable mention.

Fee received the serving award as she was 146 for 157 with 21 aces.

Senior Macey Chase and junior Hannah Sipe shared the coach’s award.

“(Chase) battled through many injuries this season and played several positions for us,” Birdsong said. “She never complained when she could not play and did not question when she was asked to play a different position from week to week.

“(Sipe) did struggle at times this season with the role she had been given. However, she never stopped from trying her best. In fact, she actually helped several members of this team when she was seated on the bench. She has a bright future and her turn to run the offense is coming.”

Cecily Coffman was named most improved and received the dig award.

“(Coffman) had 17 aces and 413 digs,” Birdsong said. “She was No. 1 in the HHC in digs and No. 19 in Indiana Class 4A volleyball. She is a junior and starting libero for our team.”

Coffman and Lauren Fleetwood were named All-HHC second team.

The serving, assists, digs and hitting awards were based on statistics.

“I have enjoyed every single spent with these players – from summer workout, to Purdue camp and even during the season, these girls have made memories that will outlast the wins and losses,” Birdsong said of her first season as varsity coach.”

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Arv Koontz is a sports correspondent for The (Seymour) Tribune.