By Rubin E. Grant
Savannah Gann has become a killing machine — on the volleyball court, that is.
During the first two weeks of the 2022 season, Vestavia’s 6-foot senior outside hitter racked up 209 kills in 17 matches, an average of more than 12 per match.
Gann is rapidly and well on her way to surpassing the 317 kills she had last year as a junior
“Savannah is doing great,” second-year Vestavia Hills coach Ashley Hardee said. “She’s our best attacker, our go-to player. She’s tall and athletic and can be effective on the front row and back row. Her height and length help her to create angles and be difficult to defend.
“She’s a six-rotation player who gives us so much value, not just with kills, but serving, digging and blocking, too. She fills up the stat sheet, which is critical to our success.”
Gann recorded 91 digs in addition to her 209 kills in those 17 games.
Gann entered this season regarded as one of the top seniors in the state, so her dominating start isn’t surprising. But she’s not trying to be the best player in the state. The team comes first.
“I’m trying to be the best I can for our team,” Gann said. “I want to leave it all on the court each game we play.”
Hardee said Gann has the ability to play at the next level, but Gann is still weighing her options.
“It would be amazing to play in college, but honestly, I’m still in the process of making a decision,” Gann said.
Gann has been playing volleyball since she was in the fourth grade, and she’s been on the Rebels’ varsity team since she was a freshman.
Gann is one of five seniors on the team this season, including setter Kate Kaiser and Elizabeth Jackson, Mackenzie Merrill and Kaylee Rickert, who each play various positions.
Gann enjoys her senior teammates.
“I’ve known just about all of them since I started playing,” Gann said. “It’s amazing to go through all the steps together, including middle school and club, and to finally be seniors. I am definitely super excited about being a senior.”
The Rebels finished the first two weeks of the season with a 13-4 record, knocking off Pelham and St. Paul’s in three sets in a tri-match to open the season and then having a strong showing in the Juanita Boddie Tournament in Hoover, going 5-1.
“At the Boddie tournament, I was kind of taken aback about how well we were playing,” Gann said. “We were just being in the moment.”
The second weekend of the season, the Rebels hosted the Vestavia Hills Classic and reached the semifinals before losing to Jasper.
“It was a good tournament for us, but we expected to do a little better,” Gann said.
Last week, the Rebels traveled to Tuscaloosa for a tri-match, defeating host Northridge but losing to Trinity Presbyterian. Later in the week, Vestavia Hills played host to Helena.
The Rebels will play their first Class 7A, Area 5 game Sept. 8 at Thompson. Hoover and Tuscaloosa County also are in the area.
Vestavia Hills advanced to the Class 7A North Super Regional tournament last year, and Gann believes they can make another postseason run this fall.
“I think if we can keep progressing we can make it all the way to the end and get to state,” Gann said.