E.A. Sports Today

4 County schools survive in North Super Regional

Jacksonville, Donoho, Sacred Heart, Oxford all vie for spots in Elite 8 today

Oxford coach Wendy McKibbin

Oxford coach Wendy McKibbin

By East Alabama Sports Today

HUNTSVILLE – Eight Calhoun County volleyball teams ventured North to the AHSAA Super Regional here on Friday, but only four survived.

Defending state champion Jacksonville, 2014 state runner-up Donoho and Sacred Heart all made quick work of their first-round opponents, while Oxford was tested in advancing.

Meanwhile, Saks, Pleasant Valley, Wellborn and Alexandria all made first-round exits.

Jacksonville defeated Haleyville 3-0 in Class 4A, Donoho swept Shoals Christian 3-0 and Sacred Heart swept Waterloo 3-0 in Class 1A and Oxford took out Florence 3-1 in Class 6A. Wins in their first matches Saturday send them to Elite 8 in Birmingham.

Saks fell to top-ranked Danville in 4A, Wellborn fell to Geraldine and Pleasant Valley fell to Sand Rock in 3A — all by 3-0 scores — and Alexandria fell to Boaz 3-1 in 5A.

Jacksonville’s size was simply too much for Haleyville in winning 25-6, 25-10, 25-19. Blessing Dunn had 19 kills, while Tamaria Mayes had 13 kills and 15 blocks.

“I thought the kids were really focused, really relaxed and played well,” Jacksonville coach David Clark said. “We played well early; that always does well for your confidence, Our seniors did what they were supposed to do … and I’m proud of the way they responded.”

The Golden Eagles (35-8) play Priceville at 9 a.m. Saturday. Priceville rallied to beat Hokes Bluff 3-1.

“I’m proud of the way we approached the match,” Clark said. “I think we’ll be pushed a little more in the morning and if we’re not on our game it will be a hard match to win.”

Donoho had a similarly easy time with Shoals Christian, winning 25-12, 25-10, 25-14. Falcons coach Janice Slay called it “a good first step.”

The Falcons were sharp on their serve in the big Von Braun Center hall. Kayla Wallace had seven aces to go along with four kills and 12 digs. Madison Huckaby had four aces and seven digs. Jordan Ray had 10 kills, an ace, seven assists and five digs. Madison Gaines had nine kills, an ace and a block. Katie Brown had 20 assists.

Wallace now has 121 aces this season.

“That was probably the most consistent she’s served since we played Sacred Heart at their place,” Slay said. “We need more of that as we move up. Hopefully she’ll stay as relaxed as she is right now and do that.”

The Falcons play Athens Bible at 9 a.m. Saturday. They beat the Trojans in the semifinals of the silver bracket of their Donoho Classic earlier this season.

Sacred Heart won by scores of 25-14, 25-10, 25-13. The Cardinals play Decatur Heritage at noon.

Some coaches might like to see their teams tested early in a tournament, but Oxford was cutting it kind of close.

The Yellow Jackets were locked in a tight match, but when it came to closing, they did it in a big way. The game scores were 25-21, 25-23, 21-25, 25-6.

“We made a few mistakes the first couple games that changed the momentum, but the fourth set we came out and took care of business,” Oxford coach Wendy McKibbin said. “Volleyball is probably the most momentum sport you play. We told them (between the third and fourth) no one’s going to roll over and play dead. You’ve got to want it more than they do. You’ve got to finish. I’m proud of the way we finished and hopefully we’ll continue to play that way.”

Nyia Archie led the Yellow Jackets (38-13) with 12 kills. Makenzie Trantham had 11 and Winter Taylor and Sara Connell had six each. Breanna Nolan had nine kills and 18 digs. Morgan Whaley had 43 assists Karagan Timmons had 12 digs.

The Yellow Jackets will play Hartselle Saturday at 9 a.m. Hartselle beat Homewood in three.

Saks coach Randy Law knew his team had a tough draw, but the Wildcats were thinking position about the challenge. The Hawks proved to be a little too much for them, 25-10, 25-18, 25-9.

“They were good,” Law said. “Sometimes we play good and sometimes we don’t. It’s been that all year long.”

The Wildcats (29-16) bounced back from the first set to make a game of it in the second. They had closed to within 20-18, then had trouble returning the Hawks’ serve and Danville (45-11) won the last five points to win to set.

Jordan Briskey led the Wildcats with seven kills and 16 digs. Tayler Teague had four kids and 10 digs. Tiffany Springer had 13 digs.

Pleasant Valley lost to Sand Rock 26-24, 25-22, 25-20. Wellborn lost to Geraldine 25-7, 25-8, 25-1. Alexandria won the first game from Boaz 25-20, then lost the next three 25-21, 25-22, 25-23.

at Von Braun Center, Huntsville
Friday’s Matches

(Calhoun County teams only)

Danville def. Saks, 3-0
Oxford def. Florence, 3-1
Jacksonville def. Haleyville, 3-0
Donoho def. Shoals Christian, 3-0
Boaz def. Alexandria, 3-1
Sand Rock def. Pleasant Valley, 3-0
Sacred Heart def. Waterloo, 3-0
Geraldine def. Wellborn, 3-0

Saturday’s Matches
Jacksonville vs. Priceville, 9 a.m.
Oxford vs. Hartselle, 9 a.m.
Sacred Heart vs. Decatur Heritage, noon
Donoho vs. Athens Bible, 1:30 p.m.

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