Addison High volleyball superstar Morgan Ray has been following directly in Sadie Beam’s footsteps.
Beam graduated as a Bulldog in 2010. Ray will do the same this upcoming May.
Beam moved on to attend and play volleyball for West Alabama. Ray has already committed to join her former teammate as a Tiger next fall.
Beam was named The Times Prep Volleyball All-Area MVP in 2010. The following year, the honor is being bestowed upon Ray.
And deservedly so.
Ray was one of four seniors — Ray, Heather Baldwin, Lauren Lowery and Kateria Feezell — responsible for leading Addison to a second-place result at the Class 1A volleyball state championship in October. The Bulldogs came up just short in a five-set heartbreaker against Donoho, keeping that senior class from claiming their third state title during their four-year prep careers.
If helping lead her squad to a 54-8 season record isn’t impressive enough, Ray’s statistics should speak for themselves. The senior compiled 759 kills, 273 digs, 228 blocks and 82 aces.
“I think the thing about Morgan that stands out the most is she dedicated pretty much all her time to one thing,” Bulldogs coach Pam Wilkins said. “And that’s volleyball.
“She was in the weight room year round. She played club. Her dedication made her the player she is.”
Baldwin joined her teammate on the All-Area squad. The setter contributed 1,590 assists, 312 digs, 181 kills, 106 aces and 49 blocks.
Having such talented, experienced players to step right into roles left by Beam, Kaitlin Parker and Alex Scott — who all graduated last May — made Wilkins’ job a little bit easier.
“Morgan Ray was a junior last year, but she was our tournament MVP,” the coach said. “Heather was our setter last year. They didn’t just come in and take anybody’s place. They were already there.”
There isn’t a clear-cut equation that results in the Bulldogs having one of the state’s best volleyball programs, but having a squad made up of multi-sport athletes has probably had something to do with it. At least Wilkins thinks so.
“Being a small school and sharing athletes, it helps that they get to work together in other sports, too,” the coach said. “I think our kids are well rounded because they play these other sports together.”
Good Hope’s Kayla Elrod and West Point’s Rachel Persall were honorable mentions on last year’s All-Area team but made the squad this time around. First-time selections were Rachel Fisher (Cullman), Taylor Terry (Holly Pond), Sabrina Russell (Fairview), Karlee Perdue (Cold Springs) and Sadie Rodgers (Vinemont).
Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.