published Monday, May 13th, 2013

Soddy-Daisy's Alex Schafer to play volleyball at TWC and other college commitments

Soddy-Daisy's Alex Schafer signed a volleyball scholarship last week with Tennessee Wesleyan College.

The 5-11 Schafer played some middle hitter but mostly outside hitter the last two years for the Lady Trojans. She finished her senior season with 458 kills, 62 aces, 49 blocks and 658 digs.

"She's one of the strongest athletes I've coached, as well as one of the most competitive, which helps make her a great tennis player as well," said Soddy-Daisy's Lorri Johnson, who has coached Schafer in volleyball and tennis. "Her volleyball skills have made her a force at the net in tennis."

Schafer will be reuniting with at TWC with former Soddy-Daisy volleyball teammates Olivia Holden and Hayli Raines.

Caudle to North Georgia

East Hamilton's Jessica Caudle has accepted a scholarship offer to continue her basketball career at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega and is expected to sign this week.

Lady Hurricanes coach Derek Morris was contacted by the NCAA Division II school and arrangement was made for Caudle to visit two Fridays ago.

"It happened pretty quickly," Caudle said. "A couple of the players showed me around the school. It's beautiful. It's in the mountains. It's actually a military school."

Caudle, a point guard, averaged 14.7 points, 4.5 assists, 4.7 steals and 3.2 rebounds per game her senior season and helped the Lady 'Canes advance as far as a Class AA state sectional. She played seven seasons for Morris at East Hamilton Middle/High and exits her prep career owning four career and four single-season school records.

"She was excellent as a sixth-grader," Morris said. "One thing that sets her apart as an athlete is her basketball I.Q. and instincts. She kept breaking her own record every year for steals. She's a hard worker."

Caudle said she plans on majoring in psychology.

Owls Barrett signs

Ooltewah's Leondra Barrett signed volleyball scholarship papers Thursday with NJCAA member Missouri State University-West Plains.

Barrett said Tennessee State, a school she was interested in, helped connect her with the junior college. Her ACT scores weren't high enough to attend TSU. She has not yet been to the West Plains campus.

"I feel good about going there," Barrett said. "When I meet with the team I feel like I'll be able to bond with the girls quickly."

The 6-foot-2 1/2 middle hitter totaled 726 kills and 227 blocks in her prep career.

"I think Leondra will most definitely be an asset to their team," Ooltewah coach Elaine Peigen said. "She had a very succesful senior year. She played varsity the last three years and she's grown and matured. It's going to be hard for someone to come in and fill her shoes next year. We're proud of her and glad she's getting the opportunity to continue her volleyball career."

Thomason to E&H

Hixson's Kennady Thomason will continue her education at Emory & Henry through the school's Bonner Scholars Program and will also play volleyball for the NCAA Division III school in Emory, Va.

Thomason played Junior Olympic volleyball for the Ocoee Heat 18 One Power team.

Wasps coach Dan Clotfelter began showing interest in her at a J.O. tournament in Sevierville, Tenn., in January and again caught up with her at a tournament in March in Indianapolis, Ind. She visited the campus April 4.

"It's absolutely beautiful," Thomason said. "I had my heart set on going there. It's in a historic district. All the buildings were made in the 1800s. I like that. I feel like it's the place for me."

The 5-foot-8 Thomason was a four-year starter, mostly at middle hitter, for the Lady Wildcats and totaled 1,010 kills and 341 blocks in her career. She's expecting to be worked out at middle hitter and outside hitter in college.

"She's a deserving kid," Hixson coach Janet Tate said. "She's a very hard hitter and hard blocker. I think one of the many facets about her is that she's so mature, so even-keeled. She never gets too high or too low. She just has a great personality."

Contact Kelley Smiddie at or 423-757-6653. Follow him on Twitter at

about Kelley Smiddie...

Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or

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