Often teaming up side-by-side in the rotation, former Carroll County athletes Jessica Sheek and Morgan Tompkins have continued to help the Guilford College volleyball program ascend closer to a conference championship.
Sheek wrapped up her career and second season with the Quakers in 2017 after playing her first two seasons at Averett University. Tompkins put together a strong sophomore season after busting onto the scene as a freshman standout the year before. Together, the former Cavaliers combined to start 36 games for Guilford in 2017. The Quakers reached the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Tournament both years the two played together after a three-year absence from the postseason.
“It has been really neat to have the double threat coming with Jessica and Morgan in there. Those two girls have definitely brought our program to a whole other level,” Guilford head coach Emily Gann said. “They were set up in the rotation next to each other. They were on the front row for two rotations together of the three they would be up there together. I just thought they were the best combination to put in together, these two former teammates playing together.”
Sheek started 19 games for Guilford as a middle blocker in 2017 and led the team in both blocks (42) and points (254). She tallied 208 kills, which ranked second on the team and 18th overall in the ODAC. She ranked second in the conference in hitting percentage (.329) and 15th in blocks per set (0.52 per set). One of Sheek’s best performances came during Guilford’s match at Roanoke College on October 4 when she tallied three blocks and a career-high 16 kills. Sheek finished the season with 10 or more kills on 12 different occasions and was named to the 2017 Cougar Classic All-Tournament Team.
“Jessica transferred to us last year and made an impact then and continued to do that through her senior year. She even brought a little more leadership than she had the year before,” Gann said. “She is a definite threat on the court as a hitter and someone our team relies on. She was injured for a little bit of the season, playing not 100 percent, and she continued to work through that and gave us everything she could every single match. It has been a lot of fun to be able to coach Jessica and have her as part of her program.”
Asserting herself as a starter early on her freshman season, Tompkins continued to grow in 2017, starting 17 games for the Quakers as an outside hitter. Despite being a bit undersized at 5-7, she finished third on the team in kills (197) and 13th in the ODAC in kills per set (2.53). Tompkins also had the third-highest total of digs (250) and points (222) for Guilford and was 15th in the conference in points per set (2.8).
The 2016 Carroll County graduate recorded nine double-doubles as a sophomore, including a 17-kill, 18-dig performance against William Peace University.
“Morgan had another great year and was a starter hitting for us and playing all the way around. She didn’t come of the floor unless she was injured,” Gann said. “She fought her way back and I thought that was part of our strength, having two who already had a great connection playing together in high school and coming here and doing the same thing. Morgan and Jessica had been a huge part of taking us to the next step of getting toward a conference championship.”
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN