Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Award-winning student news since 1978

The Brookhaven Courier

Lady Bears crowned conference champs

By Sam Doherty

Sports/Opinion Editor

Head Coach Jason Hopkins leads Brookhaven to twelfth consecutive Metro Athletic Conference Title.


After finishing the year with a 22-9 record, the regular season Metro Athletic Conference champion Brookhaven College Lady Bears volleyball team swept the Richland College Thunderducks, three sets to none, Oct. 30 in the semi-finals of the conference playoffs.

After playing the regular season undefeated in MAC play with a 10-0 record and losing one set in conference play all season, the Lady Bears dominated their first matchup against the Thunderducks.

Set 1

The Lady Bears were on fire from the opening serve as Brookhaven jumped out to a commanding lead of 14-3. After Richland started scoring some points of their own, Brookhaven’s outside hitter, Kelsey Rogers, fell into a groove and raised her level of play.

After spiking a ball for a kill off a set from Taylor Stone 3 points earlier, Rogers, gracefully and in a fluid motion, leapt into the air and spiked the ball so forcefully down the middle, the Thunderducks locked their feet on the court as they watched the ball whizz right by them, turning the score 18-9. Rogers let out a scream of excitement with her fists clenched down by her sides as the Brookhaven crowd went crazy.

After Crystal Lewis spiked a kill of her own, Rogers had two straight service aces for the Lady Bears, making the score 22-10.

After a bad serve by Richland set up a set point for Brookhaven, Mathis Popelsky bumped a return tap from the Thunderducks to Stone, who perfectly set up her teammate Samantha Eaton for the set-winning point. Eaton slammed the ball down in front of the Richland front court with a powerful overhand spike, taking the first set 25-12.

Set 2

Taylor Stone was setting up her teammates left and right and kept Richland off balance all game. After setting up Alexis Garner and Rogers for two straight kills, Stone caught the Thunderducks off guard. Stone made it look like she was going to set up another one of her teammates, but instead faked the set and quickly tapped the ball over the net in the middle of the  front court. Richland dove at the ball from all angles, only to come up short, turning the score 5-0.

Richland called a quick timeout and head coach Jason Hopkins told his team to keep it up. The Lady Bears complied.

Brookhaven dominated the Thunderducks in the second set as Richland’s first 3 points all came off unforced errors by the Lady Bears. Stone once again showed her court awareness by faking a set and tipping the ball over the net for another point, making the score 22-5.

Rogers then leapt up off another Stone set and struck the ball down onto Richland’s side of the court with authority, taking the second set 25-6.

Set 3

Brookhaven jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the third set after Popelsky and Erin Terry made two separate and incredible digs. They kept the volley alive long enough for Rogers to spike her second kill of the set, ricocheting off a Richland player into the antenna on the side of the net.

A few serves later, Terry came in on her approach toward the net and perfectly timed her jump, spiking the ball down the left side for the kill, bringing the lead back to 4 points at 7-3.

Soon after, Stone set up Terry for another mega spike followed by an assist to Eaton with a low set, which Eaton scored a point on with a dink shot around the Richland blockers, cushioning the Lady Bear lead to 6 points at 10-4.

Brookhaven continued on through the set to keep the momentum and, more importantly, the lead. Rogers finished off her superhuman night with a spike off the hands of the Richland blockers. The ball came back onto the Brookhaven side of the court, but Rogers struck it so hard the ball flew out of bounds for the point, which won the third set 25-15.

Kelsey Rogers led the Lady Bears with 12 kills, two service aces and 12 digs, according to, but she had plenty of help from her teammates. Garner chipped in with 10 kills and digs of her own while Stone dominated the court with 35 assists, two service aces and eight digs. Middle blockers Eaton and Lewis both played great defense all game long, while Eaton had seven kills and Lewis added five.

Popelsky played solid defense for the Lady Bears once again, with a total of 12 digs. Teammate Erin Terry did the same, leading her team with a total of 16 digs while chipping in on the offensive end with 10 kills.

With this win, Brookhaven advanced to the conference finals to take on the winner between the Eastfield College Harvesters and the North Lake College Blazers.

Head Coach Jason Hopkins leads Brookhaven to twelfth consecutive Metro Athletic Conference Title. (1)


The Brookhaven College Lady Bears volleyball team became regional champions of the Metro Athletic Conference for the twelfth year in a row after defeating the Eastfield College Harvesters 3-0 in the final round of the playoffs on Oct. 31. With the victory, the Lady Bears remained undefeated all season, including the playoffs, against all other participating colleges in the district.

Set 1

Brookhaven once again started the match looking poised and determined as they jumped out to a 6-2 lead. After the Harvesters cut the lead to 3 points at 8-5, the Lady Bears found their rhythm.

Terry scored on a perfectly-placed spike, followed by Eaton’s two-handed tip back for the point. Rogers then smacked the ball so hard with a spike that it bounced back onto Brookhaven’s side, but out of bounds for the point, after it was blocked by an Eastfield defender near the net. Terry then scored again on a service ace, cushioning the Brookhaven lead back to 7 at 12-5.

After a few solid points for both teams, Terry made an amazing dig which was corralled by Stone, who set up Rogers for another one of her swift spikes, putting Brookhaven up by 8 points, 17-9.

Garner then made two great plays, the first with a spike off a Popelsky set. The second happened when she rose up and stuffed an Eastfield spike back onto their side of the court for the Lady Bear point, making the score 19-9. A few serves later, Garner was at it again and perfectly timed her jump to block the Eastfield spike one more time.

After an unforced error by Eastfield set up game point, Rogers showed great reaction time by laying out to her right on an Eastfield hit, coming up with a dig. The ball was struck hard, and when Rogers went for the save, it ricocheted off her hands with so much spin the ball went back over the net and landed on the Harvesters’ side. Three Eastfield players got a hand on it, but none of them could get it back over the net, and Brookhaven won the set 25-12.

Set 2

The Lady Bears took to the court looking to go up 2-0. Eastfield got out to a quick 1-3 lead, but Brookhaven’s poise never wavered. 

Terry and Garner both scored with pairs of spikes, putting the Lady Bears back on top at 4-3. ß´ hit a hard spike right down the middle for a point followed by a long tip over the Eastfield defenders, which landed just before the out-of-bounds line in the backcourt, making the score 7-4.

Garner made an outstretched dig, saving the ball from hitting the court, and Rogers made it count by following it up with a tip shot for a kill. After points were going back and forth between both teams, Rogers and Stone faked out the Harvester defenders with two dump shots. Both showed great court awareness on their parts.

With the score close at 13-11, Garner and Eaton jumped together and blocked the Eastfield spike. The Lady Bears came together and simultaneously raised their hands in the air and threw them down to their sides, finishing off with a “whoop,” and the crowd erupted with excitement.

Stone then set up her teammates with three perfect sets for points. Soon after, Garner made a great dig, which went to Stone, who set it right back up for Garner, who slammed it onto the Eastfield side for the point, making the score 21-17. Terry later made two spikes of her own, the last of which set up game point at 24-20.

Eaton spiked the ball so hard, it struck off one of the Harvesters and went straight up, hitting the rafters in the gymnasium. The ball came straight back down with even more velocity. Eastfield was able to get a hand on it but couldn’t get underneath it enough, as the ball never made it back over the net, and Brookhaven won the second set 25-20.

Set 3

Lewis started off with a spike for the first point of the set. Popelsky made an unbelievable, backward dig that ended up going so high, the Lady Bears were able to set up Garner for another one of her many spikes of the day, resulting in a point. Brookhaven came out in the third set with a fire inside them and swarmed every ball on the court. Eaton jumped up and stuffed another Eastfield spike for a point, turning the score 8-2 and forcing another Harvester timeout.

After another great dig by Popelsky, the timeout worked to Brookhaven’s advantage. Their set play call worked, and Garner spiked another ball onto the Eastfield side for a point. As Eastfield kept the Brookhaven lead to 5 points for a few serves, Brookhaven started rallying back once again.

Hopkins called out “get up” from the bench, and Lewis listened as she aggressively jumped and spiked the Eastfield set with two hands back onto their side of the court for another Lady Bear point. Lewis then made a perfectly-timed jump and turned it into another block attempt as she stuffed the Harvester spike back onto their side once again, increasing the lead to 9 points, 18-7.

Garner and Lewis then teamed up and blocked another Eastfield spike together for their own point, making the score 21-8. Garner then turned up her quality of play even more, willing her team to victory with three straight spikes, all landing on the Eastfield side for kills and setting up game point at 24-10.

On the next serve, Eaton and Terry teamed up for the double block, winning the third set 25-10.

As soon as the ball hit the Harvester side of the court, Queen’s song “We Are The Champions” started playing over the loudspeakers, and the Lady Bears were victorious in their quest for greatness.

The Brookhaven team rallied around each other with their fingers pointed high in the air, showing off to each other how they were now truly No. 1.

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