E.A. Sports Today

Learning to win

Oxford falls behind twice, but rallies to score its second area victory; Kidd comes off back line to provide the spark

Oxford’s Alex Gomez (3) and Shania Vincent (9) go for the block against Southside. On the cover, Makayla Kidd (5) came off the back line late in the match to spark the Lady Jackets to victory. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Coaches, be sure to report your match results and statistics to East Alabama Sports Today via almusky@aol.com

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – Part of the development of a young team in any sport is learning how and finding a way to win.

The Oxford volleyball team took a step in that direction Wednesday night, coming from behind in each of the first three games and pulling away when they got the lead in each of the final two to score a valuable area victory over Southside 3-2.

“Four days off, we started out kind of flat, but as the match went on we got our energy back and started playing consistent,” Oxford coach Wendy McKibbin said. “They found a way to win, they found a way to finish. Losing the first one, losing the third one, they could’ve stopped right there. But they have grit. They don’t quit. They continue to play.”

The Lady Jackets (4-6, 2-0) got off to a slow start after an open weekend and two weather-related off days and lost the first game 21-25. They rallied from an early deficit to win Game 2, 25-20, but then lost Game 3 after holding a late lead 25-23. But a change in strategy produced a 25-19 win in Game 4 and they pulled away in Game 5, 15-8.

The move that made all the difference was taking Makayla Kidd off the back row in Game 3 and rotating her around the floor. She played a huge role late in Game 5, scoring two kills to get the ball back and two aces as the Lady Jackets extended their lead from 9-5 to 13-7.

“Makayla gave us energy,” McKibbin said. “She stepped up and was a senior leader tonight. She played her tail off.

“She played the role I’ve asked her to play, but the kids were feeding off her energy so I made a change and she started playing all the way around and she got confidence. She went up there swinging. She strategically placed the ball. She did a great job.”

Kidd rotated around the floor last season and was doing it occasionally this season, but she was positioned as a defensive specialist in the back because she’s so strong of a passer. She kept the ball moving to the Lady Jackets’ taller hitters Wednesday night, but she also scored 22 digs, eight kills and six aces.

“I just have to show up for my team and bring energy,” Kidd said. “That was my job, to bring energy on the court and place the ball and be smart. I’m really comfortable (playing all the spots). I’m not really nervous. I just love the energy on the court. Coach puts me on the floor, I want to make her proud and give her a reason to put me back on the floor again.”

The Lady Jackets have now beaten Pell City (3-2) and Southside (3-2) in Class 6A Area 13 to grab the early upper hand in their three-team area. The regular-season winner gets to host the area tournament, but earns an automatic bid to the super regionals without even playing.

“Coach McKibbin says this is just practice, this season is just practice; post-season, that’s the real deal,” Kidd said. “Area games ” Kidd said. “Area games, we come to play in area games. That’s the only thing we’re worried about right now, post-season. We’re practicing right now. … If we keep pushing with our energy, we’ll be pretty good.”

Oxford’s Shania Vincent (9) drives the ball over the net against Southside.

(21-25, 25-20, 23-25, 25-19, 15-8)
(Oxford statistics)

KILLS: Alex Hammond 2, Alex Gomez 9, Makayla Kidd 8, Taniya McDonald 4, Kiki Woods 5, Shania Vincent 9, Deinnah Isaac 1, Harmony Lynch 1, Aumaria Lindsey 8.

ASSISTS: Alex Hammond 1, Alex Gomez 1, Makayla Kidd 2, Emma Connell 21, Deinnah Isaac 18, Aumaria Lindsey 1.

DIGS: Alex Hammond 25, Alex Gomez 18, Makayla Kidd 22, Taniya McDonald 3, Shania Vincent 1, Emma Connell 8, Deinnah Isaac 5, Harmony Lynch 2, Aumaria Lindsey 2

ACES: Alex Hammond 1, Alex Gomez 2, Makayla Kidd 6, Emma Connell 2, Deinnah Isaac 1.

Southside players celebrate a game point during the early stage of their match with Oxford.

See a gallery of B.J. Franklin photos from the match at www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

You must be logged in to post a comment Login