E.A. Sports Today

Saks rallies in area opener

Wildcats bounce back from first-set loss to beat White Plains in area opener; Oxford, PV, Donoho sweep

Saks' Jordan Briskey winds up for a big slam during Tuesday's area match with White Plains. Below, White Plains' Ann-Katherine Dothard (12) and Hannah Barno combine for a block at the net. (Photos by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

Saks’ Jordan Briskey winds up for a big slam during Tuesday’s area match with White Plains. Below, White Plains’ Ann-Katherine Dothard (12) and Hannah Barno combine for a block at the net. (Photos by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

In a five-set area match, the Saks volleyball team strives to get to three as quickly as possibly.

It took a little longer than the Lady Wildcats would have liked Tuesday night, but they rallied to beat White Plains in their area opener, 3-1.

In a match that tested Saks’ mental toughness as much as any this season, White Plains won the first set 25-22, then Saks blazed to the next three 25-15, 25-17, 25-21.

The first set was the first Saks (11-1) had lost in a victory this season.

“I knew they were going to be good and they were going to be scrappy,” Saks coach Randy Law said. “I knew we had to get in there and mix it up with them and we didn’t do that the first game. We did a lot of standing around.

“We talked a lot about getting mentally tough. We started mixing it up with them instead of doing so much standing around. And we made a few adjustments, but mostly it was the want-to, I think.”

The home-standing Wildcats pulled away from a 6-6 tie in the second set with seven straight points, and took control of the third with an 11-3 run midway through the set.

White Plains wasn’t going quietly, though. It led 21-19 in the fourth set before Saks scored the final six points — the final five behind the serves of Madison Gable — to close out the match.

“I knew we could do better,” Saks senior hitter Tayler Teague said. “I just felt we had to pick ourselves up because we weren’t mentally ready. On a scale of 1 to 10, it was like an 8.5; it could be a whole lot better.

“Coach Law gave us a talk and after that we were headed home. We just wanted to get at it and I felt that’s what we did after that.”

Teague played a strong game in what she called the most important area match to her, recording 12 kills, five aces and nine digs. Jordan Briskey had 17 kills and three aces. Jaelyn Wilson dished 30 assists.

Ann-Katherine Dothard, who doesn’t come off the floor, led White Plains (2-2) with 12 kills, 12 digs and two blocks. Ryleigh Randall had 32 assists and Haley Helms had 21 digs.

White Plains trailed by six throughout the early portion of the first set, but surged into the lead with a late 8-1 run highlighted by two kills by Dothard and two blocks of Briskey at the net by Hannah Barno. Dothard deposited the set-clinching kill.

“We’ve been planning for this since last week,” White Plains coach Joi Watts said. “We prepared as best we could for what we thought they were going to do. I was excited about how we started. I just hate that we let up a little bit.

“Saks is an awesome team and we knew that coming in. We just wanted to make a good showing and I think we did.”


PELL CITY – Oxford parlayed a tight 29-27 victory in the first set into its first area victory of the season.

The Yellow Jackets rode that momentum to take the next two sets 25-17, 25-17.

They had the luxury of being able to use their entire roster throughout the match.

Breanna Nolan had nine kills, seven digs and two blocks. Chloe Stone had 10 digs, two aces and 17 assists. Karagan Timmons had eight digs, while Sara Connell had seven kills and five digs.

The Jackets (7-4) fought off numerous errors setting up their offense and had some communication issues in the first set, but fought back to it at 24. Neither team could push for the clinching point until Laura Davenport’s kill gave Oxford the margin it needed.

“It was a good win for us because that was an area game and we’re a three-team area,” assistant coach Rachel Poe said. “We didn’t capitalize on everything, but we did have some people step up on the front row and defensively.

“It was nice being able to see everyone contribute during the match. I think it gave the girls confidence to close and finish a tight match; however, I know they didn’t want the score to be that close, so they will be ready the next time we play them at home.”


PV coach Dana Bryant knows there’s a lot of volleyball still to be played, but she has to be pleased with the Lady Raiders’ early position in the area.

Cammy Cochran scored 15 kills and Anna Bryant had seven aces and 33 assists as the Lady Raiders improved to 2-0 in their area.

They won the first set 25-11, pulled out a tight second game that tested their mental toughness 25-21 and closed out the match 25-15.

“I’m happy where we’re sitting, we’re in a good spot so far, but there’s still a long road ahead of us,” Bryant said. “So far, so good. I hope we continue to stay strong.”

The Lady Raiders (7-3) got contributions across the board. Alisa St. John had four kills, Leah Johnson three and Mikayla Kendrick had three kills and three blocks. Blakely Malsey had four aces, Madi Bentley 11 digs, Taylor Williams eight digs and Savannah Williams six digs and two aces.

“Our net play was a little better tonight,” Bryant said. “We have some young middles and their net play was good, and our outside hitters were more aggressive today.”

The Lady Raiders return to the court Thursday for a county tri-match with White Plains and host Oxford.


Madison Gaines, Kayla Wallace and Camyrn Swain all enjoy double-digit kills, combining for 32, as the Lady Falcons improved to 9-1.

They beat Spring Garden 25-11, 25-21, and Ragland 25-9, 25-17.

Swain also had 16 digs, while Wallace added nine. Anna Marie Woodfin had 18 digs, while Katie Brown had three aces and 39 assists.

The Lady Falcons open area play Thursday against JCA.


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