Carl Junction’s Kennedy, Lewis sign to continue volleyball careers

Jillian Kennedy and Salma Lewis have been teammates since 5th grade.

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. – Salma Lewis and Jillian Kennedy have been teammates since 5th grade.

“We definitely grew through volleyball,” Kennedy says, “No matter what, volleyball was always a way to get our minds off of things, and we always got to do it together.”

Wednesday, the two signed to continue their careers at different schools.

“I think it will definitely be a little weird,” Kennedy adds, “but I think we’re going to do a good job staying in touch with each other. We’re both supportive of each other, so I think that we’re excited to see each other move on with our lives and just start a new chapter.”

“She’s been such a great teammate all these years,” Lewis says of Kennedy, “I’m super proud of her and I’m excited to watch her play.”

Lewis is headed to Drury next year.

She’s a 2X All-State selection, and holds the school record for career kills with 1,227.

“I think I kind of found myself in the decision-making process leading everything back to Drury,” Lewis says of making her college decision, “like how the coaches interacted with me and how the girls practiced with me. I enjoyed that one the best.”

“She’s such a great athlete, very dynamic,” says Cheryl Sharples, Carl Junction head coach, “I think she’s going to be a very successful outside hitter at Drury.”

Kennedy signed to Missouri Southern Wednesday afternoon.

She’s earned All-Conference and All-District recognition at CJ, helping the team claim its third district title in four seasons this fall.

“It feels really good,” Kennedy says of signing, “It’s definitely a stress relief, like a weight off my shoulders. I’m really excited.”

“She’s a really great blocker, so that will be a really great asset for her on the right side,” Sharples says of Kennedy, “Plus, she takes some really good swings and has some different swings that she can take on the right side.”

While the two will no longer be teammates and are done wearing the Carl Junction jersey, they’ve left their mark on the Carl Junction program.

“These last four years have been some of the best and the most memorable for me,” Lewis finishes, “I’m going to miss these girls.”

“They’ve helped develop the culture that we’ve wanted in this program,” Sharples says of her out-going seniors, “It’s been one that’s been developing for about five years now. The last couple years have really seen a big swing in that, and they’ve been a really big contributor to that.”