Rolling Hills Christian wins state KCSAA title

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By Mike Farner

 SHEPHERDSVILLE – It was another banner season for the Rolling Hills Christian Tornados volleyball team – literally.

For the fifth straight season, the program was able to raise a banner as the Kentucky Christian School Athletic Association Class 4-A State Champions. The title came in late February at the State Tournament at the Kentucky Basketball Academy in Lexington.

In league play both regular season and tournament play the Tornados have lost just once in the past five seasons. This year, head coach Danielle Merrick’s team posted a 40-1 record.

“We lost two seniors from last year and they were high level players,” the coach said last week. “I knew we had a core group of four players, but we had to bring up an eighth-grader to set for us.

“We meshed really quickly,” Merrick added. “I could see by October that we could make another run at the state title.”

Unlike the public school volleyball season, which runs in the fall, the KCSAA season is conducted along with the boys’ basketball season in the winter. Rolling Hills does not offer girls’ basketball.

Because of the differing season, Rolling Hills actually played in the National Association of Christian Athletes (NCACA) national tournament back in November after they had played just a few matches. The Tornados finished third in that tournament in Dayton, Tennessee, losing to the same team that had beaten them in the two previous seasons in the semi-finals.

The Rolling Hills team only had eight players. Unlike other ways of classifying teams, Rolling Hills was in the Class 4-A based on their results. Class 4-A for Christian Schools signifies the top grouping of programs.

The roster for Rolling Hills this season included senior Baylee Jensen, juniors Paige Merrick and Megan Seay, sophomores Amanda Poiles and Abby Satterley as well as freshmen Gabrielle Ryan and Calli Smith and eighth-grader Cierra Merrick.

After the season, Merrick and Jensen were named first-team All-State while Poiles was a second team All-State selection.