E.A. Sports Today

Talking points

Meeting before hitting the court puts Faith Christian in right frame of mind to take Slam Fest title; PV falls in Husky semifinals

By East Alabama Sports Today

The Faith Christian volleyball team has done some big things so far this year under new coach Justin Kisor, but the last time out the Lady Lions didn’t do so well.

They decided to talk about how to make it right — right before their opening match in the Wellborn Slam Fest Saturday. Whatever was said, it clicked.

The Lady Lions went 5-0 in the tournament and beat White Plains in the finals in straight sets 25-19, 25-15 to claim their first in-season tournament title in recent memory. Last weekend at Donoho they won the third-place Bronze Bracket.

“I think it’s significant because we came back,” Kisor said. “Thursday we had a rough day and took two losses to two good teams, but I didn’t think we competed as well as we should have in those games.

“We had a meeting this morning about 8:45 and really talked to them about coming together and playing for each other and the person beside you, trusting your teammates and lifting them up. When you have new-found success it takes a little bit to understand. I keep preaching we are good and expect to get teams’ best shot, but we have to play as a team, as a unit. I told them let’s start off fast.”

Both teams went 4-0 in pool play, but took two different roads to the finals.

Faith started quickly from their meeting, beating both Cleburne County and Donoho 2-0, and then rallying to beat Wellborn and Handley 2-1 after dropping the first game of both match.

“We usually struggle in that first game of tournament and I challenged them to come out and see how our tournament would turn out if we won our first match,” Kisor said. “We could either go up from Thursday or down; I think this was a great answer. It made Thursday not feel as bad. It’s a good day overall.”

White Plains, meanwhile, won four tight games in their first five sets and set down Sacred Heart 2-0, Glencoe 2-0, Spring Garden 2-1 and Ranburne 2-0.

“Each win was big and the girls wanted it more and more,” Lady Wildcats coach Candi Cronan said. “It really set the tone for the rest of the day.”

“That shows you she’s got those girls playing well,” Kisor said. “I think earlier in the year – and we played them early in the year – they might have lost those matches, but now she’s got them believing and that’s a credit to her.”

Here are Faith Christian’s statistical leaders for the day:

Montana Huie: 11 kills, 5 blocks.
Erin Cheek: 97 assists, 7 aces, 5 digs.
Nicole Frechette: 46 kills, 7 aces, 2 blocks, 5 digs.
Zana Christjohn: 34 kills, 7 aces, 3 blocks.
Sarah Jessica Christjohn: 6 aces, 4 digs.
Emily Sills: 11 kills, 2 aces, 3 digs.
Abby Kazanjian: 4 assists, 6 aces, 32 digs.
Sarah Kate McVeigh: 3 aces, 5 digs.
Sydnee Johnson: 13 kills, 11 blocks.

Here is the Lady Wildcats’ road to the finals and their statistical leaders in each match.

White Plains 2, Sacred Heart 0 (25-21, 25-23): Landry Bussey 8 kills, Lucy Medders 7 assists, Isabella Pinto 7 digs.

White Plains 2, Glencoe 0 (25-15, 30-28): Landry Bussey 5 kills; Rian Chandler 2 kills, 2 digs; Lucy Medders 6 assists; Isabella Pinto 2 digs.

White Plains 2, Spring Garden 1 (25-23, 15-25, 15-8): Landry Bussey 16 kills; Rian Chandler 4 kills, 2 digs; Lucy Medders 9 assists; Natalie Pinto 6 assists; Isabella Pinto 4 digs.

White Plains 2, Ranburne 0 (25-19, 25-17): Landry Bussey 6 kills; Rian Chandler 3 kills; Jocelyn Harris 2 kills; Lucy Medders 7 assists; Natalie Pinto 3 assists; Isabella Pinto 3 digs.

Landry Bussey had five kills in the championship match. Rian Chandler had three kills and three digs, Lucy Medders had nine assists and Isabella Pinto had eight digs.

“Overall, I am very proud of the girls,” Cronan said. “We came in to today with goals on getting better in certain areas and we did just that.”

PV falls in Husky Challenge semis

TRUSSVILLE – Pleasant Valley lost to Chelsea in the semifinals of the Gold Bracket, 2-0. Up to that point, the Lady Raiders had beaten four opponents in straight sets – Minor, Shades Valley and Hillcrest in pool play and Florence in the Gold quarterfinals.

The only seven games the Lady Raiders (27-3) have lost this season have been in the three matches they’ve lost.

Blakely Malsy had a .361 hitting percentage in the tournament and Alisa St. John hit .356.

Here are their statistical leaders in the tournament:

KILLS: Mikayla Kendrick 22, Blakely Malsy 17, Savannah Williams 7, Anna Bryant 30, Karmyn Sparks 5, Alisa St. John 23.
ASSISTS: Mikayla Kendrick 1, Savannah Williams 46, Anna Bryant 50, Rylee Haynes 4, Alisa St. John 4.
ACES: Mikayla Kendrick 9, Blakely Malsy 8, Savannah Williams 8, Anna Bryant 5, Madison Bentley 3, Cailyn Steele 2, Alisa St. John 12.
DIGS: Mikayla Kendrick 7, Blakely Malsy 9, Savannah Williams 36, Anna Bryant 32, Rylee Haynes 3, Madison Bentley 30, Maggie Hedgepath 11, Cailyn Steele 2, Alisa St. John 19.
BLOCKS: Blakely Malsy 2, Savannah Williams 4, Anna Bryant 1, Rylee Haynes 2, Alisa St. John 8.

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