E.A. Sports Today

Passing the test

Tested by Donoho, Saks wins in three sets; both teams beat Piedmont; Oxford, White Plains sweep tri-matches

MADISON GABLE

MADISON GABLE

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

After having a relatively easy time in their first two matches since their semifinal exit in the Calhoun County Tournament, the Saks volleyball team needed a test.

The Lady Wildcats got one from Donoho Thursday — and passed it.

They came from behind to beat the Lady Falcons in three sets, 23-25, 27-25, 15-10. They trailed in the second set 14-9, 19-13 and 23-21.

“That was good for us,” Saks coach Randy Law said. “We needed to be pushed, and when you play good teams like that it’s going to push us and make us better.”

The Lady Wildcats (38-5), ranked third in Class 4A, trailed most of the first set, although they did close within 24-23. They trailed 19-13 in the second after a Camille Fink ace and Law could sense the concern, but they rallied to tie it at 20. They led 24-23 and were serving for the set, but it took five more points to decide it.

Saks scored the first four points of the tiebreaker, then pulled away from a 7-7 tie with a 7-1 run that put them on the verge of winning. Tayler Teague’s eighth kill of the match, a dink at the net, closed it out.

“We’ve been down in games a few times, but we know how to come back,” Saks senior Jordan Briskey said. “Our coaches told us we’ve been in the same predicament before, just keep fighting, keep pushing, and that’s what we did.”

As big a factor as any in the Saks comeback was the play of libero Madison Gable. She was lifted about halfway through the first set, but she returned to the match with a renewed drive and kept the Lady Wildcats together through their comeback.

“When they took me out I really wasn’t playing to my full potential,” Gable said. “The last two sets I kind of realized I’ve got to get up and do what I’m supposed to do. That’s when I started getting my passes in, my serving right, my serve receiving right.

“It was really good he sat me out because I got to think about it. If I’m going to play then I need to play right or not play at all. After that I stepped it up and played my game.”

Both teams beat Piedmont. Saks won 25-3, 25-18; Donoho won 25-10, 25-6.

Briskey scored 10 of her team-high 17 kills on the night in the Donoho match, both of her aces and three of her five blocks. Teague had eight of her 13 kills against Donoho and eight total aces. Maiya Northard had six kills, four aces and four blocks. Jaelyn Wilson had 42 total assists.

For fourth-ranked 1A Donoho (29-8), Fink had eight of her 13 kills, all 14 of her digs and two of her five aces in the Saks match. Katie Brown had eight of her nine digs and 14 of her 20 assists against the Lady Wildcats. Madison Gaines had seven total kills and five blocks (all against Saks). Kayla Wallace had seven total kills, eight digs and nine aces in the match.

OXFORD 2, OHATCHEE 0
OXFORD 2, WELLBORN 0

The county champions bounced back from a flat five-set loss to Jacksonville on Tuesday to beat Ohatchee 25-18, 25-16 and host Wellborn 25-16, 25-19.

Chloe Stone led No. 10-6A Oxford (31-12) with 24 assists and seven digs. Laura Davenport had 12 digs and four kills. Taylor Ellison had eight kills and 12 digs. JoJo Skinner had six kills and 11 digs. Abby Bussey and Alex Hammond had 10 digs each.

WHITE PLAINS 2, LINCOLN 0
WHITE PLAINS 2, ALEXANDRIA 1

The Lady Wildcats played strong defense in beating Lincoln 25-15, 25-14 and Alexandria 25-12, 14-25, 15-11.

Carsyn Morrow had four blocks to go with her 12 kills. Landry Bussey had three blocks and nine kills. Haley Helms had 46 digs and two aces. Korie Burgess had 22 digs and five aces. Ryleigh Randall had five digs and 38 assists and AK Dothard had seven kills and six digs.

The Lady Wildcats led the entire third set.

“After winning the first set, we knew Alexandria would respond in the second,” White Plains coach Joi Watts said. “I’m proud of the way we came out in the third set and accepted the challenge. As a result we came away with a huge win.”



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