Taking home the hardware: Braves select Shade most valuable volleyball player

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The more Jennifer Shade got to know her Brownstown Central High School volleyball team, the more she realized it was going to be a fun fall season.

After a few months in the summer with the team, Shade looked at her assistant coach, Paige Wheeler, and said, “We really are going to be good.”

The results included winning the Jennings County and New Albany invitationals; going 9-0 and winning the Mid-Southern Conference for the 11th-straight season; and advancing to the Class 3A semistate for the second year in a row. The Braves finished the season ranked fourth in Class 3A, and they compiled a 31-6 record.

“When we started in August, it was hard because we had so much talent. We had so many players that wanted positions,” Shade said. “Just to see the determination on these kids’ faces and just to see the things they’ve accomplished from August until now, it just came from their hard work and their desire and their love for the game.”

A big part of that success was senior Abbi Shade, who didn’t take a play off all season. She was a hitter, a server and a back-row defender. Her teammates recognized that, and they selected her as the most valuable player. She was presented that award during Thursday night’s program in the BCHS auditorium.

“It’s a hard year because this group (of six seniors), I have known them for a long time,” coach Shade said. “We’ve been through it all. It’s just extremely sad to see this group go.”

The only other team-voted award was mental attitude, and that went to junior setter Nicole Thomas.

“The way I describe mental attitude is one that you neither had to cheer up nor had to console,” Shade said. “They were always happy, there were no issues, they got along with everybody. They were basically somebody on your team that just had that mental capacity that you look up to.”

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