E.A. Sports Today

Lady Cards net area opener

Sacred Heart sweeps Faith Christian; undefeated Pleasant Valley, Oxford win two matches

Sacred Heart volleyball coach Peyton Van Ekris described the play of senior Haley Shaw (34)  against Faith Christian Thursday night as "amazing."

Sacred Heart volleyball coach Peyton Van Ekris described the play of senior Haley Shaw (34) against Faith Christian Thursday night as “amazing.”

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Haley Shaw looks at the 2014 area volleyball championship banner that hangs just to the right of Sacred Heart’s bench every time she comes to the gym.

She’d love nothing better than to add another before she leaves the program that commemorates even more success than that team enjoyed.

The Lady Cardinals got off to a good start in that regard, beating Faith Christian in their area opener 3-0 Thursday night. The game scores were 25-19, 25-23, 25-20.

Shaw is one of three players on this year’s squad whose name is on that 2014 banner for the team that won the Class 1A Area 11 title and played in the super regional. She believes this team is capable of more.

“I look at it a lot; that team reminds me a lot of this team,” she said. “I look at that banner and it just reminds me of everything that we can do because I know we’re honestly better than that team on that banner and I know we can do it because we have the ability, we have the heart, to do it. It’s just a matter of doing it.”

The Lady Cardinals (7-11) showed that heart through the match. All three games were as tight as one would expect of rivals whose gyms are mere miles apart and play in an area where one good team is going to stay home after its tournament.

“I hope this sets the tone,” coach Peyton Van Ekris said. “It was pretty tight all the way around. I’m just glad we were able to push it through in three.”

Her team had extra motivation in this one; the Lady Cardinals lost to Faith in two sets earlier this season in the Saks Invitational. On this night, though, they never trailed by more than four points in any set and when they did fall behind they didn’t stay there long.

“Tonight it just showed we can do it,” Shaw said. “We already lost to them once this season and we just came in here completely hungry for the win. We came in here wanting it and I think that want and hunger to win is what got us to where we are.”

The Lady Lions (11-10), meanwhile, are still getting used to an alignment change coach Bradley Dawson inserted Monday designed to get more height at the net.

With sophomore setter Erin Cheek eligible after transferring from Trinity, Dawson moved Cornelia Simpson from the middle to outside, moved Zana Christjohn to the middle and put Emily Sills on the outside spot on the other side of the floor.

They beat Weaver 3-0 with it Tuesday and had nine blocks Thursday — six by Sills — but they’re still getting used to it.

“If we can stick with it and trust it and stay with it, I think it’ll be better,” Dawson said. “There are going to be a few growing pains; it’s just some new positions for everybody.

“I think it’s going to help. We just have to get our hitters on time because they’re hitting from a different angle and a different set. It’s kind of crazy doing it in the middle of the year, but I think once we get enough swings in it’ll work itself out.”


KILLS — Faith Christian: Zana Christjohn 5, Cornelia Simpson 10, Emily Sills 3, Morgan Robinette 3, Abby Emerson 1, Nicole Frechette 7; Sacred Heart: Haley Shaw 12, Megan Lott 5, Jumoke Sanusi 6.

ASSISTS — Sacred Heart: Jayla Woods 20.

ACES — Faith Christian: Zana Christjohn 2, Abby Kazanjian 1, Abby Emerson 2, Nicole Frechette 6; Sacred Heart: Haley Shaw 2, Megan Lott 1, Jacque Beyerle 1, Jayla Woods 3, Jarece Tillery 1, Deborah Greene 2

DIGS — Faith Christian: Zana Christjohn 1, Cornelia Simpson 3, Emily Sills 1, Abby Kazanjian 11, Abby Emerson 3, Nicole Frechette 1; Sacred Heart: Haley Shaw 8, Megan Lott 5, Jumoke Sanusi 5, Jacque Beyerle 6, Mary Kate Middlebrook 4, Jayla Woods 9, Jarece Tillery 16, Deborah Greene 7.

BLOCKS — Faith Christian: Zana Christjohn 1, Cornelia Simpson 3, Emily Sills 6; Sacred Heart: Haley Shaw 1, Jumoke Sanusi 1, Mary Kate Middlebrook 1, Deborah Greene 3.

Pleasant Valley 3, Piedmont 0
Pleasant Valley 2, Wellborn 0

PIEDMONT — The undefeated Lady Raiders (20-0) hit the floor for the first time since being voted the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Calhoun County Tournament and kept the line moving.

They defeated Piedmont 25-12, 25-8, 25-13 and Wellborn 25-15, 25-15. They are now 11-0 against in-county competition this season and have won 45 of 47 sets overall.

Cammy Cochran led PV with 16 kills and a.577 attack percentage. Blakely Malsy had a 100 serving percentage. The Lady Raiders had a .309 attack percentage as a team and a .915 serving percentage.

Here are PV’s statistical leaders:

KILLS (46) – Cammy Cochran 16, Anna Bryant 6, Alisa St. John 7, Blakely Malsy 2, Mikayla Kendrick 6, Savannah Williams 7, Heaven Rush 4.

ASSISTS (40) – Anna Bryant 16, Savannah Williams 24.

ACES (16) – Cammy Cochran 1, Anna Bryant 2, Alisa St. John 5, Mikayla Kendrick 1, Savannah Williams 4, Taylor Williams 2, Cailyin Steele 1

DIGS (53) – Cammy Cochran 7, Anna Bryant 5, Alisa St. John 11, Blakely Malsy 4, Mikayla Kendrick 3, Savannah Williams 9, Madison Bentley 6, Taylor Williams 4, Maggie Hedgepath 2, Cailyin Steele 1, Heaven Rush 1.

BLOCKS (17) – Cammy Cochran 3, Anna Bryant 2, Alisa St. John 1, Blakely Malsy 2, Mikayla Kendrick 4, Savannah Williams 4, Heaven Rush 1.

Oxford 2, Moody 1
Oxford 2, White Plains 0

OXFORD — The Lady Yellow Jackets bounced back from second-set loss to Moody to take the tiebreaker, then talked between matches about making every set count and went out and swept White Plains.

The Jackets (13-7), voted No. 2 seed in the upcoming County Tournament on Wednesday, outlasted scrappy Moody 25-18, 20-25, 15-7 and swept White Plains 25-12, 25-12. They are now 6-1 against in-county competition.

“We are still trying to find our identity,” Oxford assistant coach Rachel Poe said. “We have seen good games and good matches, but we haven’t been consistent. During the White Plains game the girls were all over the court getting things up that I’m sure many felt they wouldn’t be able to get it. The hustle, drive and communication was there. We are hoping that was a response to our conversation and we will build from there.”

Here are Oxford’s statistical leaders:

KILLS – Nyia Archie 21, Rachel Uhrin 16, JoJo Skinner 4

ASSISTS – Chloe Stone 39.

ACES – Nyia Archie 2, JoJo Skinner 2, Chloe Stone 1.

DIGS – JoJo Skinner 15, Alex Hammond 15, Abby Bussey 7, Chloe Stone 15.

BLOCKS – Nyia Archie 2.

Donoho Classic

Here is the lineup for Saturday’s Donoho Classic. Pool play begins at 9 a.m.

Pool A – Donoho (1A No. 3), Wellborn, West End, Holy Spirit
Pool B – Faith Christian, Ohatchee, Pleasant Valley (3A No. 6), Athens Bible (1A No. 5)
Pool C – White Plains, Cleburne County, Southside, Spring Garden
Pool D – Sacred Heart, Piedmont, Decatur Heritage (1A No. 2), Ider

Faith Christian's Abby Kazanjian (R) sends a ball back over the net in the Lady Lions' area match with Sacred Heart Thursday night.

Faith Christian’s Abby Kazanjian (R) sends a ball back over the net in the Lady Lions’ area match with Sacred Heart Thursday night.

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