By CHIP CIRILLO
Barbara Campbell has coached for 30 years, but she’s never had a season like this.
Injuries have ravaged Brentwood, but the Lady Bruins are still a state-title contender with a 29-5 record.
They won the District 12-AAA regular-season championship with a 12-0 record.
“At one time, we had five injuries,” Campbell said.
The injury parade started in the summer when Purdue commit Garrett Joiner suffered a torn ACL that erased her senior season.
Logan Eggleston, the 2016 Gatorade Tennessee Player of the Year, went out with a strained back.
Her younger sister, Shaye, suffered a stress fracture in her foot.
Sydney Rexford, a defensive player, broke her little finger in two places.
Sarah Majka, who moved up from the junior varsity to help the varsity defense, was sidelined with a sprained ankle.
“We have had a group of players who have just held the fort down,” Campbell said. “It has been amazing the way they have stepped up and kept us in games.”
Starter Tori Carpenter, middle hitter Celia Lamb, versatile hitter Aspen Martin, libero Andrea Aceveda, freshman Morgan Carter and Emily Wingo have helped fill the void.
“My defense – that’s been a major key,” Campbell said. “The beautiful chemistry and (teamwork) have allowed us to put a very competitive team out on the floor without our top three hitters and one of our best defensive players. So, I’m thrilled that we are where we are.”
Campbell believes the adversity has strengthened the four-time defending Class AAA champions.
“Never,” said Campbell when asked if she ever had a team with so many injuries. “In this case, it was like almost the whole starting lineup was wiped out.”
The Lady Bruins have gone 246-17 over the past five seasons.
The district tournament begins Wednesday at Centennial.
Losing Joiner was particularly painful.
“I was devastated and so were her teammates,” Campbell said. “I mean, here is this player who was the 2015 MVP of the state tournament. She was the Williamson County Volleyball Player of the Year. She was the WillCo Female Athlete of the Year. She has two times been nominated for Gatorade Player of the Year. She is a highly decorated player and she was ready to break records and provide leadership for her team.”
Before the flurry of injuries, Brentwood was ranked 10th nationally.
“It was just one player after another,” Campbell said. “Garrett was heartbroken. Her favorite quote is, ‘Tough times never last, but tough people do.’”
Logan Eggleston, a 6-foot-2 Texas commit, helped lead the U.S. to an eighth-place finish at the FIVB under-18 World Championships last summer in Argentina.
Eggleston and her sister are nearly to 100 percent.
Brentwood won the bronze division of the Southern Invitational in Atlanta on Saturday.
Logan, a junior outside hitter, said the Lady Bruins never lost faith when the injuries started piling up.
“We didn’t really have doubts that we would lose because we were still really confident in the players we had on the court,” Eggleston said. “We were just focused on getting everyone healthy and back for when tournament time comes.”
Brentwood’s title runs
29-5 — 2017
50-4 – 2016
52-3 – 2015
60-1 – 2014
55-4 — 2013