This year, 12 high schoolers from around the Valley were honored with the distinction of being selected for the 2020 Girls Volleyball All-Arizona Team, and Arcadia High sophomore Tatum Longnecker was one of them.
The All-Arizona Team is selected from athletes who were also nominated as Player of the Year at their respective schools. The team members were then determined using sports reporter’s observations, interviews with players and coaches, stats and team rankings.
“I am very proud of Tatum,” said Coach Jackie Bunker, who has coached at Arcadia for the past five years. “Watching her play, you can see the competitiveness, grit, skill and drive to be great and finish matches. I am grateful that Arcadia volleyball continues to grow so that our athletes, like Tatum, can have an opportunity to be seen and recognized for their abilities.”
Bunker said that Tatum is an “impact player.”
“In her first season on varsity, as a sophomore, she was able to positively impact our team and contribute to wins in big matches,” Bunker said. “Specifically, Tatum has a tough serve, digs a ton of balls on defense and can keep her hitters in the system and on tempo, even on tough passes.”
Coach Bunker was the one who delivered the good news to Tatum during geometry class.
“Then Dr. J, our principal, congratulated me, and they announced it over the school announcements,” Tatum said. “I was so excited to be recognized, and quite honestly, I was surprised as a sophomore to be named to the team.”
Tatum played club soccer from the age of 5 until she was 11. A foot injury put her on the bench for a while, but she decided to change it up and play tennis and volleyball when she returned to the field. She said that once she started playing volleyball, she never looked back.
“I am 100% dedicated to the game. It is an unbelievable honor to be named to the All-Arizona team, and I especially want to thank my parents for their support,” Tatum said.
Among Tatum’s many accomplishments, she was named to the 5A-Northeast Valley All-Region 2nd Team and Sports360AZ All-Academic Team. During the state playoffs this past November, she was named Player of the Week by The Arizona Republic. During her middle school years at Veritas, she was named MVP, and while attending Ingleside, her team won the Scottsdale Championship.
“It feels amazing to be part of such of an accomplished group of girls,” she said, “but as a setter, we’re only as good as the passers and hitters around us. I look at this award as a complete team effort. Coach Bunker and Coach Chang did an unbelievable job with our team through lots of adversity and challenges this season.”
Tatum plans on playing volleyball in college and studying business. “It would be an honor to be recruited as a Division I athlete, but I love to compete and will play where ever the sport takes me,” she said.