E.A. Sports Today

PV puts Glencoe in pickle

Lady Raiders sweep another area opponent, claim another area tournament title, head to North regional as a 40-win team

Pleasant Valley setter Anna Bryant (3) shares a laugh on the floor with teammates Alisa St. John (2) an Mikayla Kendrick during Friday's area tournament title match. On the cover, the PV players celebrate with a few pickle-cicles.

Pleasant Valley setter Anna Bryant (3) shares a laugh on the floor with teammates Alisa St. John (2) an Mikayla Kendrick during Friday’s area tournament title match. On the cover, the PV players celebrate with a few pickle-cicles.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — The traditional drink of choice for teams celebrating a championship of any kind is Gatorade or, when they’re a little older, champagne.

But the Pleasant Valley volleyball team celebrated another area championship in their sport Monday with, of all things, frozen pickle juice shooters. Call them Pleasant Valley pickle-cicles.

They tart treats were brought down on a big tray from the concession stand right after the Lady Raiders beat Glencoe 3-0, to complete a third straight sweep of area opponents on the way to the area title. A barrel of the stuff just might have to go with them when they play Area 14 runner up Sylvania in the North regional in Huntsville Thursday at 10:15 a.m.

“It’s like an acquired taste; you’ve got to learn to like it,” said senior Cammy Cochran, the area tournament MVP. “The first time you take a sip it’s like ‘Ewww,’ but after that, it’s ‘Yeah boy.'”

The idea of pickle juice for athletes was more for football players on really hot days to replace lost nutrients or baseball pitchers to toughen the skin on their throwing hands, but it works for the Lady Raiders.

One thing they have acquired a taste for is winning. The championship match victory was their 40th win of the season, a first for coach Dana Bryant. The scores were 25-7, 25-14, 25-13.

Cochran led the way with 19 kills and had a 69.2 attack percentage. Alisa St. John had 11 kills and a 61.1 attack percentage. Madison Bentley served six of their 13 aces and Anna Bryant had 19 assists. They had a 45.9 attack percentage as a team and served at a 92-percent clip for the match.

Glencoe made the Area 10 finals and earned a trip to Huntsville with a 3-2 win over Piedmont. The Lady Yellow Jackets rallied from an 0-2, 20-10 deficit to win, and the energy they had to expend may have contributed to the quick work PV made of them.

“They had a battle right before us,” PV coach Dana Bryant said. “It’s tough to come back after a big battle like they had and do it again.”

Piedmont (18-29) was looking to return to the regionals for the first time since 2012, but after getting out of the gate quickly by playing smart and moving they simply lost focus. Besides the big early lead in the match, the Lady Bulldogs also led 8-6 in the tiebreaker before Glencoe scored six of the next seven points to seize control.

“It’s just a mental game,” Piedmont coach Grace Strott said. “My girls have generally done really well in the third or fifth set and they just looked a little bit scared. They weren’t the aggressor.

“We beat White Plains and Sacred Heart on Thursday and that led to coming in here and getting the first two sets, but then Glencoe woke up and they started digging everything we started putting down.”

Here are the statistical leaders of Pleasant Valley and Piedmont in the tournament:

(25-7, 25-14, 25-13)

KILLS (41) – Cammy Cochran 19, Anna Bryant 2, Alisa St. John 11, Blakely Malsy 5, Mikayla Kendrick 3, Savannah Williams 1.

ASSISTS (29) – Anna Bryant 19, Savannah Williams 10.

ACES (13) – Anna Bryant 4, Alisa St. John 3, Madison Bentley 6,

DIGS (37) – Cammy Cochran 4, Anna Bryant 7, Alisa St. John 7, Blakely Malsy 1, Mikayla Kendrick 1, Savannah Williams 5, Madison Bentley 7, Taylor Williams Taylor Williams 1, Maggie Hedgepath 1, Cailyln Steele 3.

BLOCKS (3) – Cammy Cochran 1, Karmyn Sparks 1 Blakely Malsy 1.

(9-25, 15-25, 27-25, 29-27, 15-12)

KILLS (38) – Sydney Prater 11, Cherish Boswell 7, Samirrah Braswell 7, Lulu Jackson 3, Rebecca Smart 6, Breanna Brazier 3, Kaitlyn Ridley 1

BLOCKS (6) – Samirrah Braswell 2, Carsyn Morrow 1, Rebecca Smart 1, Lulu Jackson 1, Sydney Prater 1.

ACES (9) – Rebecca Smart 4, Kaitlyn Lawyer 2, Breanna Brazier 3.

DIGS (45) – Cheyenne Law 18, Kaitlyn Lawler 12, Zoee Holcomb 9, Lulu Jackson 4, Samirrah Braswell 2.

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