In an empty Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium during the summer, Seymour’s Chandler Clark would practice setting on her own, determined to reach her full potential as a volleyball player.

On the floor, she commanded the offense like a floor general — deciding who got the ball when and where during rallies with pristine accuracy.

Whenever the team turned to a player for advice, she was there to direct her teammates.

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With strong leadership, and a skill-set to match, Clark proved one of the strongest setters in Southern Indiana in 2015.

The four-year varsity starter finished the season with 471 assists, fourth-most in the Hoosier Hills Conference, 200 digs and 109 kills on the court.

Last week, Clark signed her letter of intent to play at NCAA Division I Morehead State University.

A unanimous vote from the coaches in Jackson County, Clark is The Tribune’s 2015 volleyball player of the year.

Rocky start, strong fin

ishThe season proved a slow start for Clark, as she sat out for 10 days when she hurt her ankle during a match with Floyd Central on Sept. 1.While she wasn’t on the floor, Clark still took the matches in from the bench.

“I think being around the game for a long time, I see things even when I’m not playing,” Clark said. “As I’ve grown, I’ve been able to pick up things off the court that I can take when I step back in. I think that was good for me when I was out.”

Owls coach Holly Birdsong said that Clark provided assistance to the coaching staff by helping on the sidelines.

“When she was out for her ankle injury for a little while, that was hard for us,” Birdsong said. “We had a setter that was able to come in and work for us, but Chandler still worked off the court for us. She helped other players get better and when she came back she was able to pick up where she left off.”

Clark returned to action at the Jeffersonville Tournament, helping the Owls pick up wins over Forest Park and Clarksville to move to 6-8 on the season.

“Chandler is just a great leader on and off the court,” Birdsong said. “She has a great way of working with her teammates. They understand what she’s saying and know what needs to get done when she speaks to them.”

With Clark on the floor the rest of the way, the Owls finished 21-13 which included second place at the Hoosier Hills Conference Tournament.

Birdsong said that Clark always took the initiative to make her team better.

“(Clark) would do anything you asked her without questioning it,” She said. “She knows what needs to get done. If you tell her how to do something better she will do her best to achieve it. She was the one always asking for more things do in and out of season.”

College dreams

In 2014, Clark verbally committed to playing at Morehead State.While Clark visited a number of college, she said that Morehead felt like a perfect fit.“I visited there and really enjoyed the atmosphere, the town and coaches,” Clark said. “I fell in love with the girls on the team, and when I first went there I knew that’s where I wanted to go. I visited some other places, but didn’t have that gut feeling. I committed as soon as I could.”

As of Saturday, the Eagles are 10-20 overall with a 7-9 mark in the Ohio Valley Conference.

The Eagles will start play in the OVC tournament Thursday.

“I think, the way they play together is a strength,” Clark said. “None of it is too selfish — the way they play. I think I will fit in well with that. I think it makes them a good team on and off the court and I will enjoy being there.”

Clark will join a young roster at Morehead, which features six upperclassmen and nine underclassmen currently on their team.

“I think at Morehead, with the experience she has, she will have an opportunity to play,” Birdsong said. “She will have some good leaders to look up and be able to take over running their offense after that.”

During her career in Seymour, Clark played under three different coaches at the high school.

The senior attributed her current skill-set from the things she’s learned from all her coaches.

“I think the pace of my games, as an individual, increased,” Clark said. “I think it’s important going into college, becoming stronger and faster. It all helps. I’ve grown so much in four years. When it’s a face-paced game, like we played, being smart and competitive has become a big part of how I play.

“The (coaches) were all different, and I learned different things from each of them. I think playing with different girls (at Seymour) each year was helpful to my game. I was able to pick things up from them. I think that it was very valuable to see different perspectives through my four years.”

This past week, Clark made the prestigious 18 red Kiva travel volleyball team.

The team will travel across the country, including a stop in Salt Lake City, for the next few months.

At a glance

2015 Volleyball Player of the Year

Chandler Clark // Seymour // Senior // Setter

471 assists (4th in HHC)

200 digs

109 Kills

27 blocks

16 aces

All-Hoosier Hills Conference 1st team

Academic All-State Honorable Mention

2015 Owls MVP, Assist Award

Signed to play at NCAA Div. I Morehead State University

2015 All-County Volleyball Team

Joining Chandler Clark on the 2015 All-Jackson County Volleyball team are:

Morgan Wehmiller // Brownstown Central // Senior

Accomplishments: All-Mid Southern Conference, 194 kills, 678 hits, 208 digs, 30 aces

Danielle Meyer // Brownstown Central // Senior

Accomplishments: All-MSC honorable mention

Brooklyn Snodgrass // Brownstown Central // Freshman

Accomplishments: All-MSC, 310 digs, 14 aces

Brittany Clem //Crothersville // Junior

Accomplishments: All-Southern Athletic Conference, 38 aces

Avery Carney // Medora // Senior

Accomplishments: 305-340-71 setting, 33-41-5 blocks

Cecily Coffman // Seymour // Junior

Accomplishments: All-HHC 2nd team, 413 digs (1st HHC, No. 19 Class 4A), 17 aces, 2015 Owls Most Improved/Dig Award

Emilee Pollmann // Seymour // Senior

Accomplishments: All-HHC, Academic All-State, 779 hitting attempts, 257 kills (6th HHC), 2015 Owls Hitting Award

Hayley Carter // Trinity Lutheran // Senior

Accomplishments: Academic All-State, 436 digs, 11 kills, five assists

Haylee Barker // Trinity Lutheran // Senior

Accomplishments: Academic All-State honorable mention, 458 assists, 215 kills, 201 digs

Taylor Reynolds // Trinity Lutheran // Senior

Accomplishments: 226 digs, 16 kills

Anne Franke // Trinity Lutheran // Senior

Accomplishments: Academic All-State honorable mention, 158 kills, 45 blocks

Honorable Mention

Brooke Meyer // Brownstown Central // Junior

Richayla Huff // Brownstown Central // Junior

Laura Pence // Brownstown Central // Senior

Chasta Lamb // Crothersville // Sophomore

Maddie Riley // Crothersville // Freshman

Lacey Hall // Crothersville // Sophomore

Jadelyn Dean // Medora // Senior

Mollie Borcherding // Seymour // Senior

Mikayla Fee // Seymour // Senior

Lauren Fleetwood // Seymour // Junior

Abby Hackman // Trinity Lutheran // Sophomore

Hailley Peters // Trinity Lutheran // Sophomore

Author photo
Jordan Morey is sports editor at The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at jmorey@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.