E.A. Sports Today

Saks wins Sandy Hunter Invitational

Third-ranked Lady Wildcats sweep to second tournament title, gain confidence for Tuesday’s showdown with Jacksonville

Pleasant Valley players Madison Bentley (71) and Taylor Williams prepare to receive the serve of Saks' Jaelyn Wilson during Saturday's title match.

Pleasant Valley players Madison Bentley (71) and Taylor Williams prepare to receive the serve of Saks’ Jaelyn Wilson during Saturday’s title match.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — Randy Law didn’t know what to expect in the Sandy Hunter Invitational this weekend.

As strong as his team has been this season, with six other teams ranked or nominated in the field and one very big rival in his pool, Law knew any outcome was possible.

So it was with particular satisfaction the Saks coach accepted the championship trophy after his Lady Wildcats beat host Pleasant Valley 25-20, 25-12 to complete a five-match sweep to the title.

“I knew it was going to be a tough tournament,” Law said. “Coming in we could go 0-4, 4-0 or somewhere in between, so we’re real excited.”

The Lady Wildcats (17-1), ranked third in Class 4A, had their most significant win of the day in the first match of the day. They outlasted No. 7 4A area rival Jacksonville 2-1 (16-14 in the third), losing the first set and trailing 14-11 in the third.

They also beat Briarwood Christian (nominated for the 6A poll), No. 9 3A Sand Rock and Faith Christian in straight sets in pool play.

The match with Jacksonville was interrupted twice for power outages. The Golden Eagles were leading at the time of both delays.

The teams play with bigger stakes on the line Tuesday at Jacksonville. The winner will gain the early advantage in their area.

“We were ready for them, and we’ve been this whole year to try to beat them because we haven’t won in a really long time,” Saks senior outside hitter Baylee Snider said. “And we’re going to be ready Tuesday for them, too.”

Pleasant Valley, ranked No. 8 in 3A, reached the finals of its tournament for the first time in four years. The Lady Raiders (12-4) beat Sylvania, No. 2 1A Donoho, No. 6 3A Geraldine and Holy Spirit in their pool.

They were extended to three sets by Donoho and played two tight sets with Geraldine.

“We actually met some of our goals today,” PV coach Dana Bryant said. “I’m hoping this will be a turnaround in our season. We have played good teams and we have been beaten by some good teams because of what was going on between our ears.

“Today, they were actually faced with some good solid teams, strong competition and they overcame and they won where in the past we had met some good competition and because we lacked that confidence, we doubted ourselves, we didn’t come out on top. Today they did come out on top … of some really good programs.”

One of the elements that may have impacted the quality of the championship match was PV was playing its third straight match while Saks had been idle for nearly two hours before taking on its hosts.

“We were a little gassed at the end,” Bryant said.

Jacksonville (14-6) defeated Geraldine for the second time this week and third time this season to win the Silver bracket. Donoho (14-3) beat Briarwood for the Bronze bracket.

At Pleasant Valley

Championship match
Saks def. Pleasant Valley, 25-20, 25-12

Silver bracket
Jacksonville def. Geraldine, 25-14, 25-17

Bronze bracket
Donoho def. Briarwood Christian, 25-13, 25-20

Pool A
Pleasant Valley 4-0
Geraldine 3-1
Donoho 2-2
Sylvania 1-3
Holy Spirit 0-4

Pool B
Saks 4-0
Jacksonville 3-1
Briarwood 2-2
Sand Rock 1-3
Faith Christian 0-4


SAKS: Defeated Jacksonville 12-25, 25-22, 16-14; Briarwood 25-8, 25-13; Sand Rock 25-8, 25-22; Faith Christian 25-13, 25-18.

Tayler Teague 18 kills, 21 digs; Baylee Snider 5 blocks, 22 kills, 10 assists, 18 digs; Jaelyn Wilson 82 assists, 12 digs, 6 aces; Jordan Briskey 8 blocks, 38 kills, 22 digs; Maiya Northard 11 kills, 6 aces, 12 digs; Madison Gable 55 digs.

PLEASANT VALLEY: Defeated Sylvania 25-8, 25-13; Donoho 25-22, 20-25, 15-10; Holy Spirit 25-13, 25-7; Geraldine 25-22, 26-24. Lost to Saks 20-25, 12-25.

Cammy Cochran 50 kills, 5 saces, 23 digs; Anna Bryant 27 kills, 7 aces, 5 blocks, 18 digs, 80 assists; Blakely Malsey 10 blocks; Mikayla Kendrick 7 blocks; Alisa St. John, 16 kills, 3 blocks; Savanna Williams 6 aces, 81 percent serve receive, 31 digs; Madi Bentley 5 aces, 31 digs, 70 percent serve receive; Leah Johnson 9 kills, 2 aces; Taylor Williams 19 digs, 95 percent serve receive.

DONOHO: Defeated Holy Spirit 25-9, 25-9; Sylvania 25-12, 25-8; Briarwood 25-13, 25-20. Lost to Pleasant Valley 22-25, 25-20, 10-15; Geraldine 13-25, 22-25.

Camille Fink, 27 kills; Kayla Wallace 26 kills, 22 digs, 11 aces; Madison Gaines 24 kills; Anna Marie Woodfin 50 digs; Camryn Swain 29 digs; Peyton Suco 5 blocks; Madison Gaines 5 blocks; Katie Brown 81 assists.

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