It was a banner season for area volleyball teams and players.
Bishop England continued its dominance in the High School League, winning its 11th straight Class AA state championship while pushing its playoff winning streak to 55 games. The Bishops tied the national record with their 21st state title overall, matching the success of Safford, Ariz.
Then there was the upstart Porter-Gaud Cyclones, who ended Ashley Hall's three-year reign as SCISA Class AAA state champs. The team has become a force under the direction of coach Ashley Heidtke with two state titles since 2006.
And there was individual effort. Bishop England's Ellie James was the Class AA player of the year, as picked by the Coaches Association of Women's Sports. Summerville senior Elizabeth Miler was named the South MVP in the Class AAA-AAAA North-South All-Star Game.
And then there is Ashley Hall standout Catey Warren, who will go down as one of the greatest volleyball players the Lowcountry has seen. She helped the Panthers win three straight state titles and post a 145-14 record during her career.
She has earned a scholarship to play at the College of Charleston and heads up the 2010 All-Lowcountry volleyball team as The Post and Courier's player of the year.
"She started as a freshman," Ashley Hall coach Franny Slay said. "Even though it was her first year, she held her own. She played with Rachel Ellyn, and that was a great shadowing event for her. She really stepped up, took on a leadership role and continued to get stronger.
"The thing about her is that's she's not that outgoing and aggressive," Slay added. "But when she gets on the court, she's a different person. She does so much outside of volleyball. She's just a great student and a wonderful person."
The 6-1 senior recorded 460 kills and 186 blocks. She also tallied 38 serving aces and 140 digs.
Warren is one of four players who repeat as a first-team selection. The others are Miler from Summerville, Litsa Darby of Ashley Hall and Catherine Peeples of Wando.
Slay has been a coach for 23 years and has had only three freshmen start their first year, and Warren and Darby are two of the three.
James, a Bishop England standout, helped the Bishops to the state title en route to earning the Class AA player of the year award.
The sixth member of the team is Porter-Gaud sophomore Julia McAvoy, who helped the Cyclones win their first state title since 2006 with a victory over Ashley Hall in the state championship. She had 16 kills in the title match.
Bishop England's Cindy Baggott, who has won state titles in all four years at the school, is the coach of the year.
Reach Philip M. Bowman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-5592.