E.A. Sports Today

Lady Eagles soar into finals

Jacksonville returns to county tournament title match after missing last year for the first time in 10 years

Reagan Stallings reaches down for one of her 45 digs in Jacksonville's county tournament semifinal win over Oxford Saturday. On the cover, the Lady Golden Eagles celebrate getting back into the title match. (Photos by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

Reagan Stallings reaches down for one of her 45 digs in Jacksonville’s county tournament semifinal win over Oxford Saturday. On the cover, the Lady Golden Eagles celebrate getting back into the title match. (Photos by Kristen Stringer/Krisp Pics Photography)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — The Calhoun County Volleyball Tournament moved to sparkling new digs at Jacksonville State for the first time last year. It was presumed Jacksonville would move right along with it, since the Lady Golden Eagles had played in the championship match the previous 10 years in a row.

They didn’t make it, though, upset in the semifinals by Pleasant Valley in their own gym. The players went over to watch the finals, but it just wasn’t the same as being involved.

Next to winning a state championship, getting to JSU for Championship Monday was the issue that drove them throughout Saturday.

And the Lady Eagles are going back, this time to play, having beaten second-seeded defending champion Oxford 3-1 in the last match of the day.

“It is definitely a great feeling,” Jacksonville libero Reagan Stallings said. “Last year we got put out by Pleasant Valley before we made it to the finals and it was the first year it was at the Coliseum, so we haven’t even gotten to experience that.

“Even though this has nothing to do with us making it in the playoffs, it’s still a really big deal for us. We like winning the county and last year it was definitely a mood-killer. When we walked onto the court today we were like ‘we’re getting this; we’re going to be at the Coliseum Monday.”

Jacksonville coach David Clark missed not being there, just like he missed it when the Lady Eagles didn’t get to the state finals the first year they were televised. They’ve been back since, but when it’s new you want to experience it.

The Lady Eagles (29-8) jumped on Oxford quickly in the first set, and it set the tone for the rest of the match. They won 25-9, 25-22, 12-25, 25-21.

They also beat JCA and Faith Christian in the tournament and are now 20-1 since settling on a full-time setter and flipping their outside hitters.

“One of the things coach Clark said that we know a team is really good is when they all play on the same level,” Stallings said. “People have off days, some are good, some are bad, but I felt like that first game we were all on the same level. We were all synchronized … and everything was flowing so well, and it’s like once you build that momentum up it’s hard to take it away.”

Elizabeth Poe and Aniyah Robinson each had 15 kills in the Oxford match. Sierra Stone had 12 kills and seven blocks. Stallings had 40 digs, Poe 35. Tatiyana Thomas, the fulltime setter, had 40 assists.

Jacksonville took control by winning the second game, but Oxford bounced back and made things interesting in a reversal of Game 1. Unfazed, the Lady Eagles rediscovered their focus in spite of Oxford’s best efforts to force a tiebreaker, held it together to close it out.

“They were driven to get into the final,” Clark said. “We’re still finding out a lot about who we are and what kind of team we can be. The biggest thing I saw for us today was the ability to take a big loss in a game, set of five, erase that and rebound and respond because it’s really easy to continue down that road.

“It was really interesting to see their reaction in Game 4, and I really liked our reaction. We were able to take a punch, get back up and play well.”


KILLS – Elizabeth Poe 15, Aniyah Robinson 15, Sierra Stone 12, Sarah Lumpkin 4, Tatiyana Thomas 3.

ASSISTS – Elizabeth Poe 1, Aniyah Robinson 2, Sierra Stone 3, Sarah Lumpkin 2, Reagan Stallings 8, Tatiyana Thomas 40, Carol Meehan 3, Caitlyn Ryan 2.

BLOCKS – Elizabeth Poe 3, Aniyah Robinson 1, Sierra Stone 7, Sarah Lumpkin 4, Carol Meehan 2.

DIGS – Elizabeth Poe 35, Aniyah Robinson 9, Sierra Stone 5, Sarah Lumpkin 1, Reagan Stallings 45, Tatiyana Thomas 8, Brooke Murphy 12, Carol Meehan 7, Caitlyn Ryan 20.

ACES – Aniyah Robinson 2, Sierra Stone 2, Tatiyana Thomas 2, Brooke Murphy 1

(Defeated JCA, Faith, Oxford)

KILLS – Elizabeth Poe 37, Aniyah Robinson 29, Sierra Stone 26, Sarah Lumpkin 12, Tatiyana Thomas 2.

ASSISTS – Elizabeth Poe 7, Aniyah Robinson 4, Sierra Stone 9, Sarah Lumpkin 2, Reagan Stallings 20, Tatiyana Thomas 226, Carol Meehan 5, Caitlyn Ryan 3.

BLOCKS – Elizabeth Poe 6, Aniyah Robinson 1, Sierra Stone 12, Sarah Lumpkin 11, Tatiyana Thomas 2, Carol Meehan 3.

DIGS – Elizabeth Poe 60, Aniyah Robinson 21, Sierra Stone 13, Sarah Lumpkin 7, Reagan Stallings 101, Tatiyana Thomas 21, Brooke Murphy 23, Carol Meehan 18, Caitlyn Ryan 40.

ACES – Aniyah Robinson 5, Sierra Stone 4, Tatiyana Thomas 2, Brooke Murphy 4.

(Defeated Wellborn, lost to Jacksonville)

KILLS – Cornelia Simpson 26, Abby Emerson 2, Morgan Robinette 4, Montana Huie 3, Nicole Frechette 17, Zana Christjohn 3, Emily Sills 4, Sarah Kate McVeigh 1.

BLOCKS – Abby Emerson 1, Morgan Robinette 6, Montana Huie 1, Nicole Frechette 1, Zana Christjohn 1, Emily Sills 1.

DIGS – Cornelia Simpson 23, Morgan Robinette 1, Nicole Frechette 21, Zana Christjohn 2, Emily Sills 2, Erin Cheek 2, Abby Kazanjian 19, Sarah Jessica Chrisjohn 1.

ACES – Cornelia Simpson 2, Abby Emerson 4, Nicole Frechette 5, Zana Christjohn 1, Erin Cheek 1, Abby Kazanjian 4.

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