Highlands High School Volleyball


Highlands seniors CC Shick, Sophia Sarakatsannis, Lauren Buemi, Avery Cavacini, Honor Valentine, Madison Clore, and Hayden Gessner all played vital roles on the court for Sallee’s Bluebirds team this season and won four 36th District titles under his leadership. They’ll graduate as champions.

Ryle will face either Conner, Dixie Heights, or the 35th District winner in Monday’s quarterfinals at Ryle. NewCath will play either St. Henry, Conner, Notre Dame, or Holy Cross runners-up as their opponents in NewCath.


Volleyball is an engaging team sport that requires constant movement from its participants. All positions on a court must be filled during each match, and any player who participates must play in at least two games to win three sets and claim victory for their team. There are multiple variations of volleyball available, and you must understand all the rules to succeed at playing it effectively.

At varsity volleyball matches, two groups of six players form two opposing groups of six players; these teams then alternate, serving the ball throughout each set. At high school matches, there may be four games played consecutively, with the winner receiving one point for their victories (if a tie occurs, the fifth game is then used as a tiebreaker).

To win a varsity match, a team must win at least three out of the five games in the series. Partners typically last from two to five sets depending on the age and skill levels of players – young students typically win two of three, while high school varsity and older players usually win three out of five on average.

All RIIL volleyball matches must adhere to the National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) rules, with any additional specifications by the RIIL Committee being implemented as necessary. In addition, teams must designate an authorized representative as responsible for conditions surrounding spectators during contests; an official must remain aware of all circumstances present and have the ability to make timely decisions when necessary.

Various variations of volleyball require different skills and strategies for success. Sand volleyball offers players more strategic freedom than other forms of the sport while remaining highly physical – players need to jump, hit, block the ball, etc.

Volleyball is an energetic sport enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities, from those playing recreational leagues to professional competitions like the RIIL Volleyball Championship. Volleyball offers something for all skill levels, with coed variations such as 4v4 competition being widely prevalent within recreational leagues and tournaments alike.

Middle School

According to a district spokesperson, the Highlands School Board will vote on a proposal to create a middle school girls’ volleyball program on Monday, providing more physical activity among female students while strengthening varsity programs when they reach high school. Currently, softball, basketball, and track programs exist at Highlands.

Highlands Latin’s girl’s volleyball program is a small but tight-knit group. Open to students from grades 5-12, Coach Audra Kauffman began coaching this team in 2019 and leads an experienced, supportive, and goal-oriented group that strives to reach success both on and off the court. Her teams focus heavily on fundamentals as well as disciplined effort for maximum results.

Lovejoy beat Whitehouse 25-10, 25-16, 21-25, and 25-13. This perennial playoff qualifier prevailed after four sets. Shelby Burriss set an individual personal best with 22 kills, hitting at 545 percent; Anna Barr had 17 kills with 11 digs as a junior opposite hitter, while senior setter Bethanie Wu recorded 52 assists for Lovejoy.

Highlands Swim Team came out victorious against both Cherokee County Aquatics Club and Smoky Mountain Aquatics Club at Sylva in a meet. Hurricanes prevailed by 743 to 307.

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First-year head coach Michelle Woods leads the Highlands volleyball program. Her team has started 2-2 so far this season and has beaten one of Northern Kentucky’s more brutal clubs, Simon Kenton. Highlands hopes to improve its record, which has been struggling over recent years.

Over the past decade, Bryan Crawford has been immersed in volleyball at all levels – from high school and junior club competitions to college-level competitions. He brings passion and enthusiasm to Highlands volleyball programs with an ambitious plan to take women’s volleyball teams even further.

He previously served as head coach of Iowa Central in Fort Dodge, Iowa, leading them to a top-20 national ranking and compiling an overall 95-44 record and eight conference championships during his time there.

He has also held college coaching duties at Wyoming for eight years and amassed an impressive record of 174-33 during that time. A native of Southern California himself, he brings with him both playing and coaching experience as a volleyball specialist.

Nayeli Soto saw her life flash before her. While outside of her apartment on July 14 in the early hours, two shots rang out from a neighbor’s house and struck Soto twice: once in her chest and once in her abdomen. Soto died as a result of these wounds; Jorge Saldenos Escobar Flores is currently serving time for murder charges in prison.

Katelyn Sallee is an assistant coach at Highlands who understands the significance of having an effective setter. Previously, she played that position at Morehead State University – an NCAA Division I school located in Kentucky – before mentoring Kaitlin Hall as their senior setter for this season.

Ryle can win its third district championship of the season on Monday when they meet Newport Central Catholic, Dixie Heights, or whoever emerges victorious from Thursday’s 35th District final between Notre Dame and Holy Cross. St. Henry will then face NewCath, Conner, or any winner from Thursday’s 35th District semis in Tuesday’s quarterfinals at Ryle – these winners advance into the semifinals, where they’ll meet one another for another showdown.