Cecily Coffman has come a long way since her freshman year on the Seymour volleyball team.

From not knowing much about the game, to breaking records her senior year, her determination didn’t go unnoticed.

“(Coffman) didn’t even start playing volleyball until she was a freshman at Seymour,” Seymour coach Holly Birdsong said.”She didn’t know much about volleyball and could hardly serve the ball over the net. She didn’t know how to roll how to go after a ball. The strides she made over two years was amazing. It’s a testament to see just how far you can get if you have the will to do it.”

In 2016, the libero helped anchor a stout defensive back line for the Owls.

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By season’s end, Coffman extended her school record to 547 digs for a season.

With all her accomplishments this season, The Tribune has named Coffman the 2016 Jackson County volleyball player of the year.

With a handful of inexperienced hitters, the Owls relied on their defense early in the season.

“We went to Purdue (University) camp this summer, and our coach for the week was really worried about us,” Coffman said. “She said we had no hitters on our team. Throughout the season, we mostly worked with our hitters. We had a pretty strong back row, but towards the end of the season I thought we progressed a lot with a young team.”

The Owls proved the doubters wrong, finishing 20-14 on the season while finishing second in the Hoosier Hills Conference standings.

Perhaps the biggest win of the season came against HHC foe New Albany, who was ranked in Class 4A at the time.

The Owls made it to the sectional championship where they fell to Floyd Central. In that game, Coffman finished with an outlandish 40 digs.

She had 20 or more digs eight times on the season.

Coffman said that the Owls played their best against tough opponents.

“I think we played best against better teams,” Coffman said. “We played to the level of our opponents. When it’s faster we go faster, when it’s slower we brought our game down. We knew that New Albany was really good. We had no idea what the outcome of that game was going to be.”

On top of her digs, Coffman had 347 serve receptions (3.9 per set) with a 2.5 average out of a possible perfect 3.

“I did a lot better job reading the other hitters,” Coffman said. “Last season, I kind of just waited for the ball to come to me. This year, I think I worked more on getting around my blockers and reading what they were doing. I think I worked more on what my teammates were doing.”

Coffman’s digs total led the HHC and was seventh overall in Class 4A. Of all classes, she ranked 18th overall in digs.

She broke freshman coach’s Mackenzie Wieneke digs record (455) in a season against Jeffersonville on Oct. 11.

“I did a lot better job reading the other hitters,” Coffman said. “Last season, I kind of just waited for the ball to come to me. This year, I think I worked more on getting around my blockers and reading what they were doing. I think I worked more on what my teammates were doing.”

Birdsong said that Coffman set a great example for the up-and-coming players.

“I think the younger kids can see through her that if you really want something defensively, you can get there,” she said. “The credit the defensive players get is slim to none. The crowd doesn’t always recognize when a ball is being dug or if a person is in the right spot to get a tip. They notice the kills and aces. If the defensive play isn’t there, the rest of that can’t happen.”

While she has gotten some offers from some smaller colleges, Coffman said she plans on attending Indiana University and playing on the club volleyball team after graduation.

At a glance

2016 Jackson Couunty volleyball Player of the Year

Cecily Coffman, Seymour, Senior (Libero)

Digs: 547 (6.2 per set)

Serve receptions: 347 (3.9 per set, 2.5 average)

Serving: 271 of 297 (91.2 percent)

Aces: 29

Assists: 30

Other accomplishments: All-Hoosier Hills Conference, SHS co-MVP.

2016 All-County volleyball team

Brooklyn Snodgrass, Brownstown Central, sophomore

Key stats: 249 digs, 23 aces.

Other accomplishments: All-State Class 3A, All-MId-Southern Conference first team, BCHS most outstanding defensive player.

Richayla Huff, Brownstown Central, Senior

Key stats: 267 assists, 20 kills, 47 aces

Other accomplishments: All-MSC first team, Academic All-State, BCHS MVP, assist leader and mental attitude awards.

Keeli Darlage, Brownstown Central, Freshman

Key stats: 180 kills, 24 aces, 9 blocks, 133 digs.

Other accomplishments: All-MSC honorable mention.

Leah Stidam, Brownstown Central, Senior

Key stats: 155 digs, 13 aces.

Other accomplishments: BCHS leading server award.

Hannah Sipe, Seymour, Senior

Key stats: 96 kills, 34 aces, 240 digs, 793 assists.

Other accomplishments: All-Hoosier Hills Conference, first team, SHS co-MVP and setting awards.

Lauren Fleetwood, Seymour, Senior

Key stats: 202 kills, 44 aces, 315 digs, 452 serve receptions.

Other accomplishments: Academic All-State, SHS Laura Culp mental attitude award,

Addie Rudge, Seymour, Senior

Key stats: 208 kills, 19 aces, 334 digs, 544 serve receptions.

Other accomplishments: SHS coaches’ and hitting awards

Makenna Fee, Seymour, Sophomore

Key stats: 171 kills, 17 aces, 98 blocks, 55 assists.

Other accomplishments: co-most improved player, All-HHC second team.

Maddie Riley, Crothersville, Sophomore

Key stats: 108 kills, 86.7 percent hitting.

Other accomplishments: All-Southern Athletic Conference, CHS hitting award.

Whitney Rogers, Trinity Lutheran, Senior

Key stats: 51 aces, 102 digs, 66 assists, 514 serve receptions.

Other accomplishments: TLHS co-MVP

Hailley Peters, Trinity Lutheran, Senior

Key stats: 168 kills, 44 aces, 311 digs, 448 serve receptions.

Other accomplishments: TLHS co-MVP

Lexi Schneider, Trinity Lutheran, Senior

Key stats: 156 kills, 28 aces, 67 blocks.

Other accomplishments: TLHS Cougar Award

Sydney Stahl, Trinity Lutheran, Junior

Key stats: 127 kills, 79 blocks.

Other accomplishments: TLHS most improved.

Honorable Mention

Jessica Blevins, Seymour, Sophomore

Ashley Schroer, Brownstown Central, Freshman

Katrina Christian, Crothersville, Senior

Brittany Clem, Crothersville, Senior

Katie Beesley, Medora, junior

Kailen Flynn, Medora, Sophomore

Katie Stewart, Medora, Senior

Chloe Criswell, Trinity Lutheran, Freshman

Courtney Barker, Trinity Lutheran, Junior

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