Downey Eye Clinic

A year ago, wins were few and far between for Adair County High School volleyball. 

In head coach Charity Browning’s first season at the helm, the squad finished with a 4-19 record, victims of inexperience, bad luck, and a tough schedule. Covid, along with various other ill-timed illnesses, sidelined important players. The girls’ confidence spiked and dipped from game to game, sometimes point to point. 

One game into the new season, at least one thing is already clear: This team is not the same as the 2021 edition. 

Adair was all business Monday (Aug. 15) night at home, opening the 2022 campaign with a convincing, 2-0 win over LaRue County (25-18, 25-17). Although the Lady Hawks chalked up 10 more wins than Adair last year, the Tribe dominated. 

Players up and down the roster made their respective contributions felt, with 11 girls earning time in both sets. Senior Briley Burns tallied four of Adair’s 13 kills, while eighth grader Olivia Mantooth and sophomore Jazlyn Kemp and accounted for three apiece. Kemp’s contributions extended beyond the kills—she also had the team highs in aces (three) and assists (eight). Freshman Kinzlee Akin led the team in digs, with seven. 

Browning knew going in—based what she saw this preseason—that her team was much improved from the previous version.

“We went up to the Bluegrass State Game [pre-season tournament] a couple of weeks ago and we played Corbin, who is known as a pretty competitive team,” Browning says. “We looked like the team that I knew was there all along, but didn’t decide to show up last year. It’s the hardest I have ever seen the girls play.”

The Lady Indians lost that contest (25-23, 25-23, 15-13), but the effort left an impression on the head coach.

“I saw some things I hadn’t see out of the girls yet,” Browning recalls. “One—the kids finally got a little hungry against an opponent instead of against each other, and two—I saw parents up and standing and every parent bought in. It starts at home and I’m so excited to see families getting involved.”

“Bought in” and “getting involved” are fundamental to building a successful program. Volleyball has never reached the lofty heights achieved by some of the high school’s other athletic teams, but Browning feels this year could be a turning point. The roster is still young, but the talent is obvious.

“I have five seniors, but rotationally speaking, we have two or three rotations where the oldest player on the floor is a sophomore,” Browning says. “That freshman class is just crazy talented, so they’re going to be able to play a lot right away.”

Another reason for Browning’s excitement is that the talent is not confined to a few standouts. There’s little drop-off from starter to bench player, as Monday’s statement win indicated.

“We are very deep this year, which is a good problem to have,” Browning says. “Ultimately, it’s going to make the team better, because they know that if they are having an off night, we have somebody on the bench that can keep up just as well. We can put girls in who are able to produce.” 

Monday night’s win was undoubtedly sweet for Adair, and showed that the program is on the rise. That kind of long-term progress is important to Browning, a goal of consistent improvement that supersedes even the win-loss record.

“It’s not just about [wins] for me,” Browning says. “It’s about knowing that we have bettered ourselves as a program, and one thing I really want to hit on with the girls this year is effort and fighting. In year’s past, they’ve been used to the mindset that we’re going to lose, so they would settle for winning a set instead of wanting to win that game.” 

The key to the season’s success, from Browning’s perspective, is not just winning, but building a winning culture, a culture based on competitiveness and hard work and perseverance. 

“There are going to be teams out there that are more athletic than us, but I don’t want to lose a single game because we got out-worked,” she says. “I want them to learn to keep their foot on the gas and finish instead of letting [the opponent] back in. I want to encourage a culture of knowing we can win—let’s be a threat.”

The team’s roster is shown below, and the schedule is available here, both courtesy of

Gracelynn Akin #4
Ashton Flatt #20
Rachel Brown #25
Briley Burns #17
Kadence Trammell #7

Kylie Cowan #16
Ada Gass #5
Trinity Carlson #21

Allie Murphy #10
Addie Bennett #19
Riley Yarberry #12
Jazlyn Kemp #14
Lilly Adams #9
Elizabeth Bair #8
Emma Compton #3

Kinzlee Akin #13
Anslie Spoon #2
Addison Spoon #1
Anekah Albrektson #11

Eighth Grade
Kylieanne Akin #27
Macy Mann #15
Callie Spoon #23
Lilly Myers #30
Olivia Mantooth #6

Seventh Grade
Madi Burns #22
Addie Bowman #26
Sallie Ballou, Manager
Josie Blair, Manager

This post is brought to you as part of Adair Drug Tuesday.

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Wes Feese is one of this company's owners and founders. He has previously worked as an editor, news reporter, sportswriter, photographer, and freelance contributor for newspapers across central Kentucky. He grew up in the Egypt community of Adair County and is a graduate of Adair County High School and Lindsey Wilson College.