For the second year in a row, Libby Hinton of Glen Rose has won a national volleyball championship with her Carrollton-based club team.
Hinton, a senior at Glen Rose High School who has signed a letter-of-intent to play at NCAA Division II Harding University starting this fall, was a starter on the team that captured the 18 USA Club National Championship Sunday in Dallas. Her team, TAV 18 Blue, went into the 48-team tournament ranked No. 19 overall.
They proved their ranking to be less than accurate, however, when they won all nine of their matches in the tournament. On the opening day of the tournament, TAV 18 Blue knocked off a South Carolina team named Dig This VBC, which was the overall No. 1 seed entering the tournament, 25-17, 25-16.
Their championship match victory Sunday was a 27-25, 24-26, 15-7 decision over VC United 181 Elite.
This time last year, Hinton along with former GRHS volleyball teammates Logan Smith and Mallory Rogers were celebrating being on the unbeaten (11-0) national championship team of the 17-year-old division in the 2018 tournament, held in Detroit. Smith has also signed to play volleyball for Harding.
For the second year in a row, Hinton was named to the all-tournament team for the nationals.
She didn’t get to play alongside any of her former Lady Tiger teammates this time, however. She was the only Glen Rose player on the squad, which is coached by a club coach from the Metroplex, Brendon Kowalski.
Last December, Hinton and Smith both were named to the Texas Girls Coaches Association’s all-state volleyball team. Smith was a four-time TGCA all-state performer as an outside hitter, and Hinton was honored three times. In her senior season playing middle blocker for coach Sandy Langford with the Lady Tigers, Hinton led the team in hitting percentage (.392), and set a school record for blocked shots (120).
Hinton said she decided to play with the club team one more time because she still enjoys it so much — and also to keep her volleyball skills sharp while preparing to join the even-tougher world of college competition.
Four of her teammates this time also played with her on last year’s championship squad, including a setter that was named as the MVP of the tournament.
“It was super exciting,” said Hinton, who said that 10 of her 12 teammates with TAV 18 Blue are going to be playing college volleyball. “We just worked really hard.”
Hinton said she and Logan Smith will be reporting to Harding on Aug. 12, joining a team that won its conference and made the NCAA Division II tournament this past season.
“I”m super excited,” Hinton said of looking forward to college, where she said she probably will major in chemistry, with an eye on seeking an occupation in the medical field.