Coming off a fall season in which they had helped the Douglas High School volleyball team post a school record 36 victories and emerge as state champion, the seven seniors completed their national-letter-of-intent signings together in the Douglas High School gym on May 4, 2011.
All seven were part of the Tigers’ starting rotation during their 2010 Class 4A state championship run, believed to be the largest single-season signing class for any athletic program at Douglas.
Even more impressively, however, those seven players are all still playing volleyball at the collegiate level:
• Brenna White, Mercy College (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.),
• Emily Garcia, Bentley University (Waltham, Mass.),
• Jackie Harper Notre Dame de Namur (Belmont, Calif.),
• Mia Townsell Chicago State University,
• Shannon Dugan Grand Canyon University (Phoenix, Ariz.),
• Erin Allison, Marymount University (Arlington, Va.),
• Keely Latham, University of Charleston (West Virginia).
“They are just a stupendous group,” said Douglas volleyball coach Suzi Townsell, who was on hand to watch Chicago State’s Senior Night match against Seattle University on Saturday to watch her daughters, Mia and Mysta, who are now teammates at Chicago State. “There are seven of them and it is pretty amazing all are still playing at their colleges. Something like that doesn’t happen very often. I think it is a testimony to what kind of girls they are — very driven, very goal oriented.”
Three other graduates of the Douglas volleyball program — Christine DuPuis, (2010 Douglas graduate) a junior at UMass-Boston, as well as Shawnee McFadden and Jenna Broussard, both freshmen at Lassen College (Susanville, Calif.) — also saw action on the court this fall.
White and Allison have played at a high enough level this season to earn honors from their respective conferences.
Allison was named second-team all-Capital Athletic Conference on Tuesday. Allison received second-team recognition for the second-straight season, the first Marymount player to repeat as an All-CAC performer since 2006. Allison posted a 2.46 kills per set average while adding 2.91 digs a set and 49 service aces. For the season, she ranked fifth in the CAC in service aces, seventh in total kills with 288 and ninth in digs with 340.
Marymount (19-14) played in the Eastern College Athletic Conference Southwest Championships this weekend.
White recorded her 1,500th career kill this season and has been honored as East Coast Conference Player of the Week once and named to the ECC honor roll five times this season. She currently leads the ECC in kills (507) and kills-per-set average (4.33) for a team that wound up 2-14 in conference, 11-20 overall for the season.
White received honor roll recognition this week after she averaged 4.60 kills per set (69 kills on a .253 hitting percentage), while adding 2.73 digs, 0.27 blocks and 0.27 service aces per set. White had 27 kills with a season-high .457 hitting percentage in Mercy’s 3-1 victory over Dominican. She wound up with 12 kills and 11 digs on Thursday night in Mercy’s 3-0 loss to Bridgeport.
Rounding out the group: Latham has 23 kills for the season while playing in 39 sets; Harper has 481 assists, 78 digs for Notre Dame de Namur. And Garcia plays for a Bentley team (16-8 overall, 10-2 conference) that heads into the Northeast-10 Conference Championships as the No. 2 seed this week.
Dugan was the first Grand Canyon player this season with a 20-kill match (20 against Central Connecticut State on Sept. 13). Dugan also combined for 31 kills, 15 digs, six block assists and four assists in matches against UC Davis and Weber State on Sept. 7. For the season, she ranks third on the team with 181 kills and has also been credited with 174 digs.
Dugan originally signed with Division II Lynn University (Boca Raton, Fla.) before transferring to Grand Canyon. Harper originally signed with Anderson University (Anderson, S.C.), where she played one season before transferring to Notre Dame de Namur.
Mia Townsell had four aces for Chicago State in its match against Utah Valley on Oct. 5.
This season saw two head-to-head meetings between Dugan and the Townsell sisters when Grand Canyon and Chicago State opposed each other in Western Athletic Conference matches. Mia Townsell had 26 digs while Dugan had 9 kills and 9 digs on Sept. 28 at Chicago State. Mysta Townsell, a senior (2010 Douglas graduate), was credited with 12 digs and Dugan with 10 in the Oct. 31 match in Phoenix.
“That was fun to watch,” said Suzi Townsell, who attended the match in Chicago. “There was no way to lose that night ... I was rooting for both sides.”