E.A. Sports Today

Donoho heading to finals

Lady Falcons take down Decatur Heritage to reach 1A title game; seek 11th state championship

Camryn Swain's serves and shot placement played a key role in Donoho's victory over Decatur Heritage that propelled the Lady Falcons into the Class 1A championship match. (Photo by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

Camryn Swain’s serves and shot placement played a key role in Donoho’s victory over Decatur Heritage that propelled the Lady Falcons into the Class 1A championship match. (Photo by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

BIRMINGHAM — They did leave the light on for the “Super 8” at the state finals.

Donoho earned a trip to the Class 1A state volleyball championship match Wednesday with a tactical 3-1 win over top-seeded Decatur Heritage at the Crossplex.

The Lady Falcons (46-8), tagged the “Super 8” by coach Janice Slay because of the team’s eight-player roster, lost the first set 25-18, then won the next three 27-25, 25-20. 25-20.

They’ll play Meek (39-13) Thursday at 6 p.m., when they’ll be seeking their 11th volleyball state championship.

“I’ve always dreamed of going, so honestly it’s a dream come true,” senior Camille Fink said. “I’ve always wanted to do this. My sisters both went, both won state championships and I always dreamed of being like them, I guess, so it’s really great.”

Even though Donoho jumped out to a big early start, Decatur Heritage (40-12) dominated the first set with its two six-footers — Jala Karrh and Kayla Grimes — up front, but then the Lady Falcons turned to a strategy of making the bigs move to turn the tide.

It was largely on the serve of Camryn Swain. The senior outside hitter had five aces in the match, but it was the placement of her serves that Slay says “inspires everybody” that was as effective as any ace. Fittingly, it was an ace by Kayla Wallace that ended the match.

“I’m not a very powerful hitter so I always rely on my placement with my serves, with my hits, so I aim for a spot and I know where to hit it and it works well because that’s where I put it,” Swain said. “I try to keep the other team as off balance as possible. I feel like that is my role on the team, just to be consistent.”

Madison Gaines had 17 kills to lead the Lady Falcons. Camille Fink had 14 kills and Katie Brown had 32 assists. Grimes had 21 kills and six blocks to lead Decatur Heritage.

Donoho was serving for set point in the second set with a 24-21 lead when the Lady Eagles scored four straight points to move into position to steal. The Lady Falcons then scored the next three points to tie the match.

They used an 8-2 run midway through to take control of the third set and weren’t much threatened in the fourth after opening a 12-9 lead.

Donoho beat Meek to win the North super regional title last Saturday in Huntsville.

“I knew we could go to state, but to come this far is an honor,” Swain said. “I feel like my team and I have worked really hard together and it’s really nice to be here.”

Madison Gaines had 17 kills to lead the Donoho hitters against Decatur Heritage. (Photo by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

Madison Gaines had 17 kills to lead the Donoho hitters against Decatur Heritage. (Photo by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

AHSAA ELITE EIGHT
(Calhoun County teams)

Class 1A
Donoho def. Fruitdale, 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-12)
Brilliant def. Isabella, 3-2 (18-25, 25-22, 20-25, 25-19, 15-10)
Meek def. Kinston, 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-15)
Decatur Heritage def. Pleasant Home, 3-0 (29-27, 25-22, 25-23)

Semifinals
Donoho def. Decatur Heritage, 3-1 (18-25, 27-25, 25-20, 25-23)
Meek def. Brilliant, 3-0 (25-10, 25-14, 25-6)

Championship match
Donoho (46-8) vs. Meek (39-13), 6 p.m.

Class 4A
St. James def. Saks, 3-1 (25-18, 22-25, 25-20, 25-20)
Danville def. UMS-Wright, 3-1 (25-17, 25-16, 19-25, 25-19)
Brooks def. Satsuma, 3-0 (25-15, 25-20, 25-13)
Jacksonville def. Trinity Presbyterian, 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-22)

Semifinals
Brooks def. Jacksonville, 3-2 (25-16, 16-25, 16-25, 25-13, 15-13)
St. James def. Danville, 3-2 (25-18, 25-13, 19-25, 25-27, 17-15)

Championship match
St. James (31-8) vs. Danville (35-27), 2 p.m.

Peyton Suco goes high above the net to score a kill in Donoho's Elite Eight victory over Fruitdale. (Photo by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

Peyton Suco goes high above the net to score a kill in Donoho’s Elite Eight victory over Fruitdale. (Photo by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)



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