E.A. Sports Today

PV clinches area

PV reacts to tourney seed slight, clinches area volleyball title

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — To say the Pleasant Valley volleyball team was disappointed with its seeding in the Calhoun County Volleyball Tournament would be putting it lightly.

Now it’s a team on a mission and a motivated team is a dangerous team.

The Lady Raiders showed their teeth early Thursday against Piedmont, opening big lead in the first game and going on to win 25-13, 25-12, 25-8 to clinch the top seed and hosting rights in their upcoming area tournament.

“That was one of the goals,” PV coach Dana Bryant said.

There was another issue driving them in the match. The Lady Raiders, 22–5 overall, 5-0 in their area and 11-4 against county opponents, were seeded sixth in tight voting at and the county meeting Wednesday, behind a team it had beaten twice this season. They are ranked fifth in Class 3A.

Thursday was their first time back on the floor since the meeting and they played with a little chip on their shoulder.

“I was a little aggravated at how we got seeded,” Bryant said. “The girls have worked really hard to get where they are this season and to not be recognized, to be seeded where we were seeded, was sort of a knock, a sort of a slap in the face, but it’ll serve as good motivation.”

Bryant texted the players the result of the voting shortly after the meeting Wednesday, and they talked about it before hitting the court Thursday.

“I was very disappointed because we’re way better than that and we know we can work really hard,” sophomore outside hitter Alisa St. John said. “We just have to show up ready to play when we get there so we can show everybody.”

They were ready Thursday, opening the match with a 19-3 run that included 12 straight points off Anna Bryant’s serve. They trailed only once in the match — 1-0 in set 2.

Bryant had five aces, 23 assists and two blocks in the match. St. John had four kills, three digs and a block. Cammy Cochran had a team-high 16 kills and seven digs. Savannah Williams had 10 digs, Madi Bentley had two aces and five digs, and Blakley Malsy had three kills, three aces, four digs and a block.

The Lady Raiders have won their last 13 straight area matches in straight sets.

“The girls played very well today.” Dana Bryant said. “Passing looked good, hitting looked good; all the way around they played very solid. We had one run there where we started making a few mistakes, but other than that the other game went very well.”

Piedmont (5-14) has two area matches remaining to land a 2 or 3 seed and avoid meeting PV in the opening round of the area tournament. The Lady Bulldogs got two kills and two blocks from Cherish Boswell and two kills from Samirra Braswell Thursday.

“We’ve got to step up our game; tonight we didn’t even look like ourselves,” coach Grace Strott said. “We have the individual capabilities as a team, it’s just pulling them together as a team now.”

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