E.A. Sports Today

Saks shows No. 1 stripes

Lady Wildcats position themselves for a No. 1 seed in the Calhoun County Tournament after putting away White Plains

Saks' front line of (from left) Tayler Teague, LaMonica Noel and Baylee Snider line up at the net to defend the shot of White Plains' Carsyn Morrow.

Saks’ front line of (from left) Tayler Teague, LaMonica Noel and Baylee Snider line up at the net to defend the shot of White Plains’ Carsyn Morrow.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Randy Law doesn’t know whether his Saks volleyball team will be the No. 1 seed in the Calhoun County Tournament. He’d like to think it could be, but good taste prevents him from outright campaigning for it.

The Lady Wildcats made their last pitch before the tournament seeding meeting Tuesday night with a straight-set area victory over White Plains, 25-17, 25-18, 25-19. The seeding meeting is 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Jacksonville High School library.

The resume certainly is strong. Their senior-laden lineup is 24-3 with the only losses coming to Jacksonville, Donoho and North Paulding (Ga.) – and they have beaten Jacksonville and Donoho.

The only one of the potential No. 1s they haven’t played is Oxford, which has only one in-county loss, and they’ll get the Yellow Jackets between the seeding meeting and the tournament.

“Who knows what’s going to happen,” Law said. “It could be several different teams. There are a lot of good teams that deserve it. I would like to think we’d at least have some consideration because we’ve played well enough this year.

“If we get the No. 1 seed that would be great simply because you get that first-round bye. If we don’t get it, that doesn’t mean we can’t win the tournament.”

There’s no doubt where the Saks players think they should be when the voting is done and the brackets completed.

“I believe we should be the No. 1 seed in the County Tournament,” Maiya Northard said, “but whoever does get it, we’re going to battle it out and we’re gonna show them who should’ve got it.”

There promises to be plenty of competition for the top seed. Defending champion Jacksonville, deep Oxford, Alexandria and Donoho are the leading contenders, but Pleasant Valley, Ohatchee, Faith Christian, Sacred Heart and Piedmont are capable of shaking up the mix.

“This is probably as even as it’s been in the county in a long time, where we didn’t have one or two dominant teams,” White Plains coach Joi Watts said. “It’s going to be a tough decision on all of them.”

“Tomorrow’s meeting will be interesting,” Pleasant Valley coach Dana Bryant said.

Many of the coaches say it doesn’t matter who gets the No. 1. The teams are still going to have to perform once they get on the floor. The tournament starts Oct. 3, then moves to Jacksonville State for the championship Oct. 5.

While Tuesday’s match may have an impact on who’s No. 1 entering the county tournament, of greater importance was its impact on the race for No. 1 in Class 4A Area 11.

By winning, the Lady Wildcats were able to keep pace with Jacksonville and set up a showdown with the Golden Eagles Thursday for the area title.

Jordan Briskey led Saks with 21 kills; she was serving on the final two points of the match. Tayler Teague had 13 kills and Jaelyn Wilson had 35 assists.

White Plains got eight kills and two blocks from Landry Bussey, 10 kills and three blocks from Carsyn Morrow, 27 assists from Ryleigh Randall and 21 digs from Haley Helms.

JACKSONVILLE 3, CLEBURNE COUNTY 0 (25-16, 25-19, 27-25)

Jacksonville didn’t play its best match of the season, but the Golden Eagles had enough in the tank to maintain their lead over Saks in Class 4A Area 11.

The Golden Eagles defeated Cleburne County in three sets, 25-16, 25-19, 27-25, but coach David Clark was hardly wowed by the performance.

“We just played poorly,” he said. “We were very inconsistent mentally and physically.”

Sierra Stone led the Golden Eagles with 12 kills and five blocks. Elizabeth Poe and Aniyah Robinson had seven kills each, and Halee Holtbrooks had 22 assists.

The Golden Eagles return to the floor Thursday when they travel to Saks to decide the area championship. The teams have split during the season, but Jacksonville won the first meeting that counted in the area 3-1.

DONOHO 3, FAITH CHRISTIAN 0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-20)

The Lady Falcons bounced back from a straight-set loss in their tournament title game and moved closer to clinching the 1A Area 10 title. They are anticipating a top five county tournament seed, but take nothing for granted.

“Everybody is beating everybody this year,” Donoho coach Janice Slay said. “There is a lot of parity this year.”

Madison Gaines and Camille Fink led Donoho (21-5) with 10 and eight kills, respectively. Anna Marie Woodfin recorded 25 digs, Camryn Swain had 15 and Katie Brown had 21 assists.

Cornelia Simpson led Faith (10-10) with five kills, 15 blocks and 14 digs. Madison Stephens had 25 digs, while Nicole Frechette had six kills and 15 digs.

CHELSEA 3, OXFORD 0 (25-23, 28-26, 25-23)

OXFORD – The Yellow Jackets couldn’t find a way to finish and Chelsea eliminated them from winning the three-team 6A Area 10 championship.

Nyia Archie, Breanna Nolan and Winter Taylor had eight kills apiece for the Jackets (18-9, 1-2). Archie added four digs and three blocks, while Nolan had nine digs.

Laura Davenport had five kills, five digs and two aces. Sara Connell had three kills and nine digs. Chloe Stone had nine digs and 22 assists. Karagan Timmons had 26 digs.

“We’re going back down the roller coaster,” Jackets assistant coach Rachel Poe said. “We are looking for leadership and the drive to win. We don’t have either right now.”

PLEASANT VALLEY 2, GASTON 0 (25-7, 25-8)

The Lady Raiders continue to get contributions throughout the lineup as they became 20-game winners with their straight-sets sweep.

Cammy Cochran led the night with 19 kills, six aces and 15 digs. Anna Bryant had 10 kills, 24 assists, two aces and eight digs.

Alisa St. John had 10 kills and seven digs; Savanna Williams had five aces and 12 digs; Madi Bentley had three aces and 23 digs; and Mikayla Kendrick had three blocks.

Blakley Malsey had two blocks, three kills, four aces and six digs; Leah Johnson had three kills, five digs and a block; Taylor Williams had two aces, a kill and 10 digs.

The Lady Raiders (21-5, 4-0) return to the floor Thursday at 3 p.m. against Piedmont with a chance to move closer to the 3A Area 12 crown.

This story will be updated.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login