Their delicate touch puts the ball in just the right position at precisely the right moment to give the hitters all the glory of pounding those crowd-pleasing kills.
Aficionados of the game of volleyball know that without a good setter, no team can hope for real success.
Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia have been hotbeds for successful volleyball for many years. Recent successes have only reinforced the quality of play in our area.
Dobyns-Bennett’s Jamie Rutledge and Gate City’s Callie Sloop, both seniors, have been at the center of their respective programs and defined what great setters can mean to their teammates.
For their efforts this past season, Rutledge and Sloop were named the Times-News Elite co-volleyball players of the year.
This dynamic duo experienced very similar outcomes in their respective careers. Sloop and Rutledge both won state championships during their junior seasons and led their respective squads to runner-up finishes in the 2010 season.
It’s the third consecutive season that Rutledgeearned Elite volleyball status.
Rutledge, the state of Tennessee’s career leader in assists with 4,238, finished this past season with 1,137 assists, 397 kills, 473 digs, 38 blocks and 34 aces. Those numbers earned her Big 8 Conference player of the year honors as well selection to the all-district and All-Region 1 teams.
Rutledge was named to the Tennessee all-state team in both her sophomore and junior seasons.
Sloop was equally impressive in her play for the Lady Blue Devils. She completed the 2010 season with 936 assists (averaging 9.3 per game), 55 kills, 51 total blocks, 54 aces, 192 points and a 92.8 serve percentage.
Additionally, Sloop found the time to come up with 204 digs.
Outstanding from start to finish, Sloop was named Clinch Mountain District player of the year as well as the Region D player of the year. She earned first-team selection to both the all-district and All-Region D squads.
As setters, Rutledge and Sloop were asked to put their teammates in position to shine. All their hard work reflected back on them and showed that they were truly the best of best, the Elite.