E.A. Sports Today

Faith in the system

Lady Lions could make a case for a No. 5 county tournament seed after sweeping Donoho for its ninth county victory

Faith’s Nicole Frechette (2) pushes the ball over the Donoho defense at the net for one of her 12 kills. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

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By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Justin Kisor is prepared to go to the net for his Faith Christian volleyball team Wednesday at the Calhoun County Volleyball Tournament seeding meeting in Oxford.

His Lady Lions ran their record to 13-4 — 9-2 against in-county competition — after sweeping past Donoho 3-0 in an important Region 1A Area 10 match Kisor called “the best we played all year start to finish.”

How much weight that carries in the coaches’ debate at the seeding meeting won’t be known until the bracket gets built Wednesday afternoon, but first-year coach Kisor will be there to see his Lady Lions get a fair shake.

“I’m not going to take anything that our girls don’t deserve,” Kisor said. “I’m going to fight for our girls, they deserve that. Whatever happens tomorrow … we’ll be ready to play whoever we play, but I’m not going to let them sit there and discredit what we’ve done so far because that would be a disservice to our girls.”

Conventional thinking suggests the top three seeds will be some combination of Pleasant Valley, Alexandria and Jacksonville, with county giant Oxford plugged in next despite a losing overall record against a strong schedule and limited starts against county competition.

It would seem the next spots would fall to Saks and Faith in a classic big school-little school debate. The Lady Lions do have a 2-1 pool-play win over the Lady Wildcats in the Saks Invitational going for them.

A No. 5 seed is more advantageous because it puts the holder in a bracket with the 1 and 4 seeds, where a No. 6 seed would draw the possible gauntlet of the 3, 2 and 1. The tournament is Oct. 7 at Jacksonville High School, with the finals Oct. 9 at Jacksonville State.

In the past the tournament seeds were determined by a time-consuming mathematical poll of the coaches. The open debate that’s expected to be this meeting may work in the Lady Lions’ favor. Within the county, traditionally the strongest argument in settling potential debates, Faith has beaten 3A Wellborn and 1A area rivals Donoho and Sacred Heart twice each, 4A Saks, 4A White Plains and 3A Piedmont once. Two of its losses have come to Pleasant Valley, the potential No. 1.

“I want to go in there and do our girls justice,” Kisor said. “I know we have four big schools in front of us that are really good; after that it’s anybody’s ballgame. I’m not going to go in there and start an uproar, but I’m not going to let us get run over because we’re a 1A. If we play like this tonight, we can pretty much play with anybody.”

With the exception of a few loose stretches, the Lady Lions were as sharp against the young Falcons as they have been all season. They won by scores of 25-18, 25-15 and 25-11. They closed out Games 1 and 3 on kills by Nicole Frechette and clinched Game 2 when the Falcons returned Erin Cheek’s volley into the net.

Cheek was a bigger weapon setting up her teammates than scoring points of her own. She had 24 assists; the Lady Lions had 29 kills in the match.
“It makes my heart happy to see them put a ball down that I could give them,” Cheek said.

Frechette had 12 kills (and three aces) and Zana Christjohn had 10. Abby Kazanjian served four aces and kept the ball alive with 16 digs.

“Last night we kind of struggled (in a five-set win over Wellborn),” Kazanjian said, “so tonight I made sure to focus on the coverage that we practiced.”

Erin Cheek assisted on 24 of Faith’s 29 kills Tuesday night at Donoho. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

(25-18, 25-15, 25-11)

KILLS – Faith: Montana Huie 2, Nicole Frechette 12, Zana Christjohn 10, Emily Sills 4, Sydnee Johnson 1. Donoho: Sarah Green 3, Mya Keel 4, Maggie Miller 1, Mercy Mangum 1.
DIGS – Nicole Frechette 2, Zana Christjohn 1, Emily Sills 3, Abby Kazanjian 16. Donoho: Jenna Stemmel 5, Sarah Green 1, Mya Keel 9, Maggie Miller 3, Victoria Tutor 3.
ASSISTS – Erin Cheek 24, Abby Kazanjian 1, Sarah Kate McVeigh 1. Donoho: Maggie Miller 10, Kate Porteous 1.
ACES – Erin Cheek 1, Nicole Frechette 3, Zana Christjohn 1, S.J. Christjohn 1, Abby Kazanjian 4. Donoho: Sarah Green, 1, Maggie Miller 1, Mercy Mangum 1.

Tuesday matches
Faith Christian 3, Donoho 0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-11)
Oxford 3, Southside 1 (25-20, 20-25, 25-17, 25-21)
Saks 3, Munford 0
Wellborn 3, Weaver 1 (26-24, 25-14, 25-27, 25-18)
White Plains 3, Hokes Bluff 2

Donoho libero Jenna Stremmel puts some serious compression on the ball before sending it over the net to Faith Christian. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

To see a gallery of photos from the Faith-Donoho match, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

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