Photo: Southside High School senior Bliss Brown signed a volleyball scholarship with Gadsden State on Jan 8. Pictured, sitting, from left: Bliss’ mom Claudette, Bliss, Bliss’ dad Veryl, Gadsden State volleyball coach Connie Clark. Standing, from left: SHS principal Julie Tucker, SHS assistant volleyball coach Michael Jaggers, SHS head volleyball coach Courtney Brothers, SHS athletic director Angie Sanders.
By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Following an impressive senior season, Southside High volleyball player Bliss Brown signed a scholarship to continue her playing career at Gadsden State Community College on Jan. 8 at the SHS library.
A setter, Brown helped guide the Lady Panthers to an area championship and a trip to the regional tournament during her lone season at Southside in 2019 after transferring from Gadsden City.
“It’s a good feeling to go to the next level,” Brown said. “I like the energy at Gadsden State.”
Brown started to realize she had the ability to play at the next level a season ago due to her ability to make plays and set up her teammates.
“Putting the ball where it needs to be for hitters and hustling,” Brown said of her primary role on the team.
Southside High volleyball coach Courtney Brothers praised Brown’s role as a veteran setter and her energy level.
“Her biggest impact was being an experienced setter for the team and bringing enthusiasm to practice and matches,” Brothers said.
Brothers credited Brown’s work ethic for helping her accomplish her goal of playing at the next level.
During her senior season, Brown was named to the Etowah County All-Tournament Team, the 5A, Area 12 Tournament Team and the All Etowah County team while being named to the al.com “Best of the Rest” in the state for Class 5A volleyball.
Brown finished the year with 1,266 assists, 115 kills, 114 digs, 49 aces and five blocks while helping Southside post a 47-14 record and qualify for the North Super Regional tournament.
Brown said she is looking forward to playing for Gadsden State volleyball coach Connie Clark. The 2019 Lady Cardinals went 26-12 and won the National Junior College Athletic Association Gulf Atlantic District title in early November. It was Gadsden State’s first state championship since 2005. The Lady Cardinals went on to compete in the NJCAA Division I Tournament in Hutchinson, Kansas.
Clark watched Brown play several times last fall and noted that Brown improved throughout the season.
“Bliss is a tremendous athlete who puts the ball pretty much wherever she wants to put it. I definitely look for her to come in and play as a freshman. My plan is to use Bliss and [rising sophomore setter] Leighanna Tralongo in a 6-2 [lineup] a lot so we can have them both on the floor.”
In addition to Brown, Clark’s 2019 recruiting class so far includes Madalynn Owen from Priceville, Savannah Manley from Addison and Maegan Milligan from West Morgan.
Chris McCarthy contributed to this article