Video: Play Like a Girl Podcast No. 15
Host Nikki B. talks to sports anchor/reporter AJ McCord.
Some teams have slogans or a motto to inspire their players. Assumption (Louisville, Ky.) has a number. It’s the only thing on the Rockets’ practice jerseys. It's a big number ... an impressive number.
This year, it was 21 — representing the next state title the Rockets their eyes on. Coach Ron Kordes said recently that shirts with "22" already have been order for next fall.
But before talk turns to 22 and the goals of the 2019 team, let’s talk about 21.
Assumption’s 2018 season was among the best ever. Period. And not just at Assumption where the Rockets won their 21st state title in 30 years, but from either coast and all points in between.
The Rockets went 43-0, won four major tournaments, carry a two-year win streak totaling 59 into next year. And for all of that, the Rockets are the 2018 MaxPreps High School Volleyball National Champions.
The Rockets weren’t just very good. They were overpowering. In more than 100 sets played, they lost eight. They were pushed to a fifth set once against a schedule few would take on.
They won the prestigious Durango Classic in Las Vegas, considered of the granddaddy of all prep volleyball showcases. They also won Chicago’s Asics tournament, the Ultra Ankle Invite in Louisville and Indiana’s Avon Classic.
Kordes, a Hall of Fame coach with more than 1,100 wins (and a .915 winning percentage), has had three unbeaten teams in his 30 seasons.
Is this his best team?
“They all are special, but this team has eight seniors who have signed to play DI and two of the top five-rated juniors in the country,” said Kordes. “We’ve always played tough schedules. I’m competitive and the kids know they are going to play this type of schedule all around the country every year.”
What impressed Kordes the most was how his team handled the pressure.
“They started the season with a big target on their back,” he said. “When teams play us we always get their best game. But we had a lot of kids coming back and we knew we would be good.”
“Our goal is to always win state. We can control that,” said Kordes. “We can’t control the polls. That’s out of our hands. So, we really do go about taking it one set at a time. We do what we do best and things usually work out. We do what we can control.”
In addition to the eight senior signees, the Rockets have four other players who have committed and Kordes expects all 17 of this year’s varsity players to play collegiately.
Reigning Gatorade State Player of the Year Rylee Rader
, who’s just a junior and committed to Ohio State, was one of many marquee players. The Rockets also featured Duke commit Camille Nazor
, Michigan State commit Emma Monks
, Texas A&M commit Karly Basham
, and Louisville commit Anna DeBeer
As a team they averaged 13.2 kills, 14 digs and 2.5 aces and blocked shots per set.
Their depth and balance was on display so often finding a most valuable player from match to match was a challenge for even Kordes.
“We always had someone stepping up,” said Kordes. “We were two deep at each rotation, three deep at times.”
Senior Alexa Hendricks
led the Rockets with 327 service points. Basham served a team high 56 aces with a 94.3 serving percentage and 332 digs. Rader led in kills with 415 (3.8 per set), Monks led in solo blocks with 83, Callie Martin
topped the team in serve receptions and Nazor averaged 11.2 assists per set.
Nazor is a finalist for MaxPreps National Player of the Year, Rader was chosen the state’s Miss Volleyball and Martin was chosen outstanding player at the state tournament.
Kordes points to team camaraderie and lack of injuries as other reasons for such great success.
“You put 15-20 teenage girls together for this length of time and there is bound to be some drama,” said Kordes. “But this group of girls didn’t allow it to happen.”
Another major reason is the depth. Kordes point out that senior Lauren Myrick
(Lipscomb signee) could have played anywhere.
“We were very deep with a lot of physical ability and size,” said Kordes. “We’ve been blessed. We went to the Durango tournament and lost just one set in winning it. This is a very special group.”
This group is a national championship group.
Final 2018 Top 50 National High School Volleyball Rankings presented by the Army National Guard
1. (Last week 1) Assumption (Louisville, Ky.), 43-0
The Rockets won their 21st state title and extended their two-year winning streak to 59.2. (2) Yorktown (Ind.), 35-0
The Tigers ran their win streak to 35 in winning the 4A state championship.3. (3) Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.), 43-2
The Monarchs won their first state open division title.4. (4) Millennium (Goodyear, Ariz.), 45-1
The Tigers won the state 5A championship.5. (5) Walton (Marietta, Ga.), 41-3
The Raiders won their final 16 matches and won the state 7A title, their eighth in nine years.6. (6) Lewis-Palmer (Monument, Colo.), 28-1
The Rangers captured their third-straight state 4A title.7. (7) Immaculate Heart Academy (Washington Township, N.J.), 40-1
The Blue Eagles won the non-public state title as well as the state tournament of champions.8. (8) Sterling (Ill.), 41-1
The Golden Warriors won the state 3A title.9. (9) Ursuline Academy (Cincinnati), 27-2
The Lions retained their state large school title.10. (10) Millard North (Omaha, Neb.), 38-2
The Mustangs capture the state large school championship.11. (11) Marist (Chicago), 39-3
The Redhawks won the state 4A title.12. (12) Briarcrest Christian (Eads, Tenn.), 40-2
Won state A-II title.13. (13) Green Hope (Cary, N.C.), 28-1
Won state 4A title.14. (14) Champlin Park (Champlin, Minn.), 32-2
The Rebels won the state Class 3A championship.15. (15) Oviedo (Fla.), 28-4
The Lions won the state 9A championship.16. (16) Ankeny Centennial (Ankeny, Iowa), 41-3
The Jaguars won their fourth state 5A title in five years.17. (17) Princess Anne (Virginia Beach, Va.), 29-0
The Cavaliers won the state large school title.
18. (18) Mt. Carmel (New Orleans), 42-2
The Cubs won their fifth state title.
19. (21) Flower Mound (Texas), 43-7
Flower Mound won the Texas large school title.20. (19) Lake Orion (Mich.), 68-6
The Dragons captured Michigan’s D1 state title.
21. (20) Northwest (Germantown, Md.), 19-1
The Jaguars defeated Urbana (Ijamsville) to win their fourth-straight state 4A title match. Northwest has won 77 of its last 79 matches.22. (22) Edmond Santa Fe (Edmond, Okla.), 28-2
The Wolves in winning the state large school championship.23. (23) Logan-Rogersville (Rogersville, Mo.), 38-2
The Wildcats won the state 3A championship.24. (24) Lawrence (Kan.), 38-2
The Lions won the state 6A title.25. (25) West Valley (Yakima, Wash.), 23-3
The Rams captured the state large school title.26. Christian (Grand Rapids, Mich.), 46-5
Christian won the state D2 title.27. McGill-Toolen (Mobile, Ala.), 48-5
McGill-Toolen won the state 7A title.28. Redondo Union (Redondo Beach, Calif.), 35-4
Redondo Union lost twice to No. 3 Mater Dei and once to No. 1 Assumption.29. Brentwood (Tenn.), 47-3
Brentwood won its six-straight state AAA title.
30. Jasper (Ala.), 70-5
Jasper won the state 5A title.
31. Cedar Falls (Iowa), 46-1
Cedar Falls’ 75-match winning streak ended in Iowa state 5A finals as Ankeny Centennial won the championship.
32. Ridge Point (Missouri City, Texas), 47-6
Ridge Point was Texas 6A runner-up.33. Marvin Ridge (Waxhaw, N.C.), 44-2
Finished with 18 wins in a row and the state 3A title.34. Valor Christian (Highlands Ranch, Colo.), 27-2
Valor won the state 5A title.
35. 'Iolani (Honolulu), 28-6
'Iolani won the state D1 title.36. Dimond (Anchorage, Alaska), 49-4
Dimond won the state 4A title and its final 43 matches.40. Spain Park (Hoover, Ala.), 65-5
Spain Park won the state 6A title.41. Byron Nelson (Trophy Club, Texas), 42-2
Byron Nelson was ranked among the top five teams for most of the season before losing late in the postseason.42. Torrey Pines (San Diego), 33-4
Torrey Pines was another highly ranked team all season before losing late in the postseason.43. Padua Franciscan (Parma, Ohio), 27-2
Franciscan was the state 3A runner-up.44. Eagan (Minn.), 32-2
Eagan was state large school runner-up.45. North Hunterdon (Annandale, N.J.), 33-2
North Hunterton won state D4 champion and was Tournament of Champion runnerup.46. McIntosh (Peachtree City, Ga.), 38-3
McIntosh won the state 5A title and its final 26 matches.47. Burlington (Burlington, Wis.), 38-5
Started slow, but Burlington won the state large school title.48. Nation Ford (Fort Mill, S.C.), 46-7
Nation Ford won the state 5A title.49. Jesuit (Portland, Ore.), 31-4
The Crusaders won the state 6A title.
The Bears won the 5A state title.