PREBLE COUNTY —The 2015 volleyball season was dominated by one school in Preble County as the Eaton Eagles established themselves as the county’s top volleyball team.
Eaton claimed the right to be considered the best team by winning a share of the SWBL Southwestern Conference title with Bellbrook, and claiming both a sectional and district championship before falling in the regional semi-finals.
The Eagles played three of the four other county schools, with Twin Valley South being the only team not to face the SWBL champions during the regular season. Eaton won those three matches a combined eight sets to none.
Preble Shawnee played the Eagles closer than any other county school, but the Eagles won with scores of 25-15, 25-10, and 25-12.
Overall Eaton finished 23-4 and 11-1 in the SWBL Southwestern.
The choice for top player in the county came down to three players on the Eagles’ roster, with Julia Titus, Brittany George and Emma McKinney all being worthy recipients of the award after having strong individual seasons.
Ultimately it was junior setter Emma McKinney who was named The Register-Herald’s 2015 Volleyball Player of Year.
McKinney received third team All-State honors as the Eagles’ setter. She averaged 9.19 assist per set in the regular season, assisting on over a third of the team’s points scored.
She totaled 643 assists to lead the SWBL in assists in 70 sets played during the season.
She was also named the SWBL’s Player of the Year and received first team All-District 15 honors.
McKinney also had 45 kills on the season and had 115 digs for the Eagles.
She is joined on the first team by senior teammates Titus and George.
Titus was also named a first team All-SWBL member and was named a member of the All-District 15 first team. She was selected to play in the district All-Star match and was named a member of the All-District Senior Academic All-Stars.
For the season, Titus was one of the top all-around players. She tallied 194 kills enough for 12th best in the league. She also had 32 blocks, 106 digs and 40 assists during the season.
George acted as another well-balanced player for the SWBL champions, as she was named second team All-SWBL and second team All-District 15.
She was also selected to play in the District 15 Senior All-Star game and was named a member of the All-District Academic All-Star Team.
She tallied 190 kills during the season and defensively recorded 37 blocks and 162 digs. George was fourth in the SWBL in hitting efficiency.
Joining the three Eagles on the first team is fellow SWBL player Elise Walker, who led the Preble Shawnee Arrows to a 10-12 record on the season.
Walker, a junior, was second in the SWBL Buckeye division with a 38-kill percentage and was second in total kills with 203.
Walker was 11th in the Buckeye League with 177 digs and sixth with 162 assists.
Walker was named a first team all SWBL-Buckeye member and a first team All-District 15 member for Division III.
Twin Valley South finished the season with the second-best record in Preble County and is represented by junior Abby Beneke, who tallied 263 total kills on the season.
Beneke played in 69 sets for the Panthers this season and recorded 279 digs. She also posted a 94 percent serve percentage, including a 14.6 ace percentage.
Beneke also recorded 124 assists on the season. She received first team All-Cross County Conference honors.
Rounding out the first team is National Trail senior Alexus Acton. Acton was named first team all Cross County Conference and was named a member of the first team All-District 15 for Division III.
In just her second year of volleyball, Acton played in every match for the 7-15 Blazers and led the team in kills and kill percentage with 31.1.
As team captain, she was also the team’s best server based on percentage and led the team in percentage of successful serve receptions.
The second team starts with Jackie McCafferty, the senior libero and defensive specialist for Eaton. McCafferty led the Eagles with 322 digs on the season.
McCafferty perhaps saved her best game for her last regular season match when she recorded 23 digs in the SWBL-deciding match with Bellbrook, despite the match only lasting three sets.
She joins George on the second team All-SWBL Southwestern team. McCafferty was also selected to participate in the District 15 Senior All-Star game and was also a member of the All-District Academic All-Star Team.
Meghan Puckett joins her fellow senior as a member of the second team. Puckett recorded 141 kills on the season but did so with an efficient 44 percent kill percentage.
Puckett recorded 48 blocks on the season to lead the Eagles.
Puckett received honorable mentions in both the All-SWBL and All-District 15 and was named to the All-District 15 Academic All-Star Team.
Preble Shawnee’s senior Madison Elkins also received second team mention. Elkins was named to the second team All-SWBL Buckeye Team and was named to the District-15 Division III second team.
Elkins received the Arrow Award from her teammates and coaches while tallying 95 kills and 30 blocks with a kill percentage of 38 and an 84 attack percentage as the team’s lone senior.
National Trail senior Kortney Rae is a second team member after leading the Blazers with 39 aces on the season. Playing as the team’s setter Rae received Cross County Conference special mention while maintaining a 92.4 percent serve percentage.
Tri-County North is represented by senior outside hitter Allee Demorest.
Demorest recorded 180 digs, along with 81 kills and 13 aces on the season. She was the team’s co-captain and was described as the team’s “go-to player” by Tri-County North head coach Sarah Collins.
Rounding out the second team is Twin Valley South junior Madison Wright.
The libero tallied 327 digs on the season for the Panthers, with an average of 4.7 per set.
She recorded 32 aces with a 12 percent ace percentage on the year, while maintaining a 95 percent serve percentage.
The following players receive honorable mention: Preble Shawnee junior Savannah Lynch, Preble Shawnee sophomore Kylie Mikesell, Preble Shawnee junior Brianna Wells, Eaton senior Allison Colllins, Eaton senior Brandi Sittloh, Twin Valley South sophomore Mylan Crews, National Trail freshman Rissa Griffin, National Trail junior Shania Jordan, Tri-County North senior Macey Dennison, Tri-County North junior Sara Harris and Tri-County North sophomore Cassi Stinson.
Reach Austin Schmidt at 937-683-4062 or on Twittet at aschmidt_RH.