E.A. Sports Today

Oxford served top seed in county tourney

By East Alabama Sports Today

It has been a while since Oxford was the No. 1 seed in the Calhoun County Volleyball Tournament, but the last time was a good time.

The Yellow Jackets, 23-6 overall and 2-0 against county opponents, pulled down the top seed for the Oct. 4 tournament for the first time as coach Wendy McKibbin recalls since 2007 in a vote of coaches at Sacred Heart Wednesday night.

That last time they were No. 1 was the last time they won the tournament.

“The girls will be excited,” McKibbin said. “They’ve worked hard and done well. It’s good recognition for them.

“I’m glad (about the seeding), but like anything else you’ve got to play that day. Anybody can beat anybody on a given day; it’s the team that wants it most. In a single-elimination tournament you have to play.”

As the top seed, the Jackets draw a first-round bye in the 15-team field. They will play the winner of No. 8 Sacred Heart and No. 9 Ohatchee in their first match.

Defending champion Jacksonville (17-5), Alexandria (20-9) and Donoho (16-8) round out the top four seeds. They are followed by Saks (9-2 against county foes), White Plains, Pleasant Valley, Sacred Heart, Ohatchee, Piedmont, Wellborn, Weaver, Faith Christian, JCA and Anniston.

The results of the coaches’ vote were not disclosed, although tournament officials did say the balloting in the middle of the field was tight.

Many of the other coaches contacted after the vote believed the seedings fell “about right.” Alexandria coach Whitney Welch thought they were “spot on.”

“There are a lot of schools that are very close in talent,” Saks coach Randy Law said. “I was trying to seed them and it was tough.”

“I think there’s a lot of teams grouped together that I’m not really sure who’ll win those matches,” Jacksonville coach David Clark said. “I think they’ll be good matches, which is good for the county.”

Clark’s team has had a monopoly on the top seed the last couple years, but he understood the rationale of the picks.

“It’s about what I thought it would be,” he said. “They clearly were much better than us on the night we played. The only other (county) team they’ve played is Alexandria and I talked to Alexandria’s coach and they were a good bit better than them the night they played, too, so it was the logical choice. I figured they’d be the one. They deserved to be the one.

“I think my kids are looking forward for a chance to play better against Oxford than we did last time if we can get to that point. We know we’ll see them that next week anyway. Maybe we can get fortunate enough to see them in the (county tournament) finals and play a little better than we did the last time.”

The tournament will be played at Jacksonville High School. Sacred Heart is the host.

at Jacksonville High School
All games Oct. 4

(Records as of Sept. 24)

First-round games
x-No. 8 Sacred Heart (18-10) vs. No. 9 Ohatchee (11-5), 9 a.m.
No. 5 Saks (14-4) vs. No. 12 Weaver (4-15), 9 a.m.
No. 4 Donoho (16-8) vs. No. 13 Faith Christian (1-22), 10:30 a.m.
No. 3 Alexandria (20-9) vs. No. 14 Jacksonville Christian (1-9), 10:30 a.m.
No. 6 White Plains (15-9) vs. No. 11 Wellborn (4-12), noon
No. 7 Pleasant Valley (15-9) vs. No. 10 Piedmont (10-13), 9 a.m.
No. 2 Jacksonville (17-5) vs. No. 15 Anniston (0-4), 10:30 a.m.
x-winner plays No. 1 Oxford (23-6), noon

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