E.A. Sports Today

Tuesday volleyball

Faith Christian beats higher county seed Saks for the second time this season; Oxford, PV, Sacred Heart, White Plains all victorious

Abby Kazanjian (white jersey) and her Faith Christian teammates celebrate a high point in their victory over Saks. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

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By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The Faith Christian volleyball team might want to consider asking the Calhoun County volleyball coaches for a recount on the county tournament seedings.

What was expected to be one of the hottest topics of debate at the seeding meeting and wasn’t – whether Saks or Faith should be the 5 seed after the traditional Big Four — might need to be revisited after the 1A Lady Lions beat Saks for the second time this season.

Faith beat the 4A Lady Wildcats in three games during the Saks Invitational earlier in the year and handled them by the same score in its own gym in their first meeting since the seeding meeting. In the other two matches of the night, Faith and Saks both beat Weaver 2-0.

To be honest, it really was a close call on which of the two would get the fifth seed. As it turned out, Saks grabbed the 5 with Faith falling to 6. While some of the Faith players said they were inspired by the perceived slight, Lady Lions coach Justin Kisor didn’t want any part of that argument.

“We weren’t even thinking about that,” he said. “We knew they were going to come out ready. I thought overall we played great. We blocked. We covered for the most part. They’re good; it’s just an even match. It could have gone either way.

“We played better tonight than we did the first time we played them. A couple points in the first game could’ve gone different, but they finished out the first game and we didn’t. I think we’re even teams. You had arguments for us at fifth and them at sixth and vice versa. We’re just going to come out here and play whoever we got and make us better.

“We’ve got to gain respect. We just can’t come up here and have one good year and expect to get respect. If we do this continually then respect will come, but we can’t come up here and have one good year and be like we deserve this and this and this. They’ve earned that spot. We want to get in that spot where we get talked about. That’ll be a couple year, maybe next year.”

Saks (20-8) played like a team out to justify its tournament seed, rallying from an early deficit with an 8-1 closing run to win the first set 25-20. But Faith (21-6) bounced back like a team with something to prove and won the next two sets 25-17, 15-12 to win the match.

The Lady Lions used an 8-0 run to take control of the second set and closed it out with an 8-1 finish of their own, capped by Nicole Frechette’s ace off the net cord. They scored the first five points of the third set and then pulled away from a 10-10 tie to win it. Zana Christjohn broke the tie with a winner down the line and Sydnee Johnson’s kill closed it out.

“I’m not going to say it didn’t bother me, because it did,” Frechette said. “I definitely wanted to win because of that. We definitely wanted it more just to kind of show everyone.”

Kisor was impressed with the way his team rallied and closed the match. He was equally impressed with the way it rallied around teammate Abby Kazanjian, who played – and played well – despite learning of the passing of her grandmother earlier in the day.

Kazanjian, the Lady Lions’ junior libero, had eight digs and two aces against Saks, 20 digs, four aces and three assists in the two matches. She had two aces, including the clinching point, in the run that closed the first set against Weaver.

“She’s one of the fiercest competitors we have,” Kisor said. “It was a tough day, a tough day for her, but, my gosh, she freakin’ played. I love all our girls and I love the way they fight and compete.

“The girls rallied and kept her spirits high all day and tonight. It meant a lot to me to see team around her and lift her up and see her smile. It was special.”

The task didn’t get any easier for Saks after it finished facing Faith. The Lady Wildcats got right back on the floor to face Weaver, no pushover at 16-6 and coming off an area win over Ohatchee the night before.

They had control of the first set, but found themselves in a dogfight to avoid going to a third set tiebreaker. LaMonica Noel and Davonna Stone were strong at the net, Miracle Dennard got the ball in the right places and Keira Burks held her own in her first game playing libero.

“It’s tough to lose a tight game like that and then turn around and play a good team,” Saks coach Randy Law said. “We had something to shoot for. I told them this is our 20th win, that’s nothing to sneeze at, lets work hard at it – and they did.

“We just have to get more consistent. The first four sets we played today I was really pleased even though I hate losing. If we could ever learn to play with some consistency I think we’ll be all right.”

Even though Weaver didn’t win a game in its two matches, the Lady Bearcats didn’t go home empty-handed. Coach Casey Maples may have found some help for the future when Abby Gaines, Tabitha Roberts and sophomore libero Lexi Callahan came off the bench and they sparked a late rally in the second game with Saks that just fell short.

They were down 18-11, but rallied to draw even at 23 and serving. Gaines had two kills and three aces in the match and Roberts had two aces.

“Sometimes you’ve got to get out of your own head and realize it’s supposed to be fun and it’s supposed to be competitive,” Weaver coach Casey Maples said. “I think that group on the floor at the end did a great job and showed that. It’s supposed to be fun. They got excited and finished really strong for us.”

LaMonica Noel (3) was strong at the net for Saks in the both matches. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

OXFORD 3, MOODY 0: Since taking senior Makayla Kidd off the back row and rotating her around the floor, the Yellow Jackets have gone 8-10 and clinched the No. 1 in their upcoming area tournament.

Once again Kidd was a factor all over the floor. She had six kills, nine aces and 11 digs against the Lady Blue Devils.

The Lady Jackets (11-16) first moved Kidd off the back line to start the third set of an area counter against Southside. They lost that set, but won the next two to score a 3-2 victory.

WHITE PLAINS 3, HOKES BLUFF 0: Just as they did to set the tone for reaching the Slam Fest finals this past weekend, the Lady Wildcats took control of this important area match by winning two close games.

They won the first two games 25-23, 25-21 before completing the sweep with a comparatively easy 25-10 third game. Landry Bussey led the way with 13 kills. Lucy Medders had 11 assists.

SACRED HEART 3, DONOHO 1: The Lady Cardinals clinched the No. 2 seed in their area tournament by winning a pair of nailbiters in the final two sets. Donoho won the first set 26-24, then Sacred Heart came back 25-11, 26-24, 25-23.

The Lady Cardinals (15-7) trailed by as many as 11 in the third set and rallied to take a lead, but needed to win final two points to clinch it. They jumped out in front 7-0 in the fourth set, but Donoho rallied to grab a 15-12 lead and that went back and forth the rest of the match.

Ayanna Foster led the Lady Cardinals with 16 kills and two blocks. Jumoke Sanuis had seven kills, two aces and 12 digs. Sophia Allen had 18 assists.

On the cover: Saks’ Davonna Stone (R) goes up to block Faith Christian’s Nicole Frechette at the net. To see more photos from from the Faith-Saks and Saks-Weaver matches, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

(19-25, 25-17, 15-12)

KILLS – Saks: Lanie Dreyer 1, LaMonica Noel, Davonna Stone 6, Izzy Shaver 6, Madison Tate 8; Faith: Montana Huie 1, Nicole Frechette 9, Zana Christjohn 3, Emily Sills 2, Sydnee Johnson 8.
ASSISTS – Saks: Lanie Dreyer 1, Miracle Dennard 45, LaMonica Neol 1, Miriam Ortiz-Rodriguez 1; Faith: Erin Cheek 20.
BLOCKS – Saks: LaMonica Noel 6, Davonna Stone 2; Faith: Montana Huie 3, Nicole Frechette 2, Zana Christjohn 1, Sydnee Johnson 1.
DIGS – Saks: Lanie Dreyer 3, Miracle Dennard 5, LaMonica Noel 3, Keira Burks 10, Madison Tate 3, Miriam Ortiz-Rodriguez 1; Faith: Erin Cheek 2, Zana Christjohn 1, Abby Kazanjian 8, Sarah Kate McVeigh 1.
ACES – Saks: Madison Tate 2, Miriam Ortiz-Rodriguez 2; Faith: Erin Cheek 1, Nicole Frechette 2, Sarah Jessica Christjohn 2, Emily Sills 1, Abby Kazanjian 2.

(25-14, 25-20)

KILLS – Saks: Lanie Dreyer 1, Miracle Dennard 1, LaMonica Noel 5, Davonna Stone 6, Izzy Shaver 1, Keira Burks 1, Madison Tate 5; Weaver: Rayne Beck 2, Kylee Jordan 1, McKenna Flynn 1, Mariah Thompson 2, Brianna Ware 1.
ASSISTS – Saks: Lanie Dreyer 2, Miracle Dennard 43, Davonna Stone 1.
BLOCKS – Saks: LaMonica Noel 2, Davonna Stone 2.
DIGS – Saks: Lanie Dreyer 4, Miracle Dennard 5, LaMonica Noel 6, Izzy Shaver 2, Keira Burks 4, Miriam Ortiz-Rodriguez 6.
ACES – Saks: Lanie Dreyer 2, LaMonica Noel 2, Madison Tate 3, Miriam Ortiz-Rodriguez 1; Weaver: Amira Carter 1, Kailey Forbes 1.

(25-13, 25-23)

KILLS – Weaver: Kylee Jordan 1, Mariah Thompson 1, Brianna Ware 1, McKenna Flynn 2, Abby Gaines 2; Faith: Sarah Kate McVeigh 1, Nicole Frechette 6, Emily Sills 2, Montana Huie 2, Zana Christjohn 1, Erin Cheek 1, Sydnee Johnson 3.
ASSISTS – Faith: Abby Kazanjian 1, Erin Cheek 14.
BLOCKS – Faith: Montana Huie 2, Erin Cheek 1.
DIGS – Faith: Sarah Kate McVeigh 2, Nicole Frechette 3, Emily Sills 3, Sarah Jessica Christjohn 1, Abby Kazanjian 6.
ACES – Weaver: Kyle Jordan 1, Abby Gaines 3, Tabitha Roberts 2; Faith: Nicole Frechette 2, Emily Sills 3, Sarah Jessica Christjohn 2, Abby Kazanjian 2, Erin Cheek 1.

(25-14, 25-17, 25-10)
(Oxford statistics)

Alex Hammond – 14 digs, 2 kills.
Alex Gomez – 12 digs, 5 kills.
Makayla Kidd – 11 digs, 6 kills, 9 aces.
Emma Connell – 29 assists.
Shania Vincent – 6 digs, 3 blocks.
Deinnah Isaac – 6 digs, 2 aces.
Kaylee Sanders – 8 digs, 1 ace.
Aumaria Lindsey – 6 kills.

(24-26, 25-11, 26-24, 25-23)
(Sacred Heart statistics)

Ayanna Foster – 16 kills, 2 blocks.
Jumoke Sanusi – 7 kills, 12 digs, 2 aces.
Sophia Allen – 18 assists, 6 digs, 4 aces.
Jayla Woods – 9 assists, 4 aces, 6 digs.
Angel Nguyen – 14 digs, 2 blocks.

(25-17, 25-13)
(25-13, 28-26)
(PV statistics)

Mikayla Kendrick – 12 kills, 2 aces, 3 digs, 1 block.
Blakely Malsy – 6 kills, 1 assist, 1 ace, 1 dig, 5 blocks.
Savannah Williams – 7 kills, 11 assists, 2 aces, 6 digs.
Anna Bryant – 7 kills, 20 assists, 6 aces, 1 dig, 1 block.
Rylee Haynes – 1 dig.
Karmyn Sparks – 1 kill, 2 digs.
Madison Bentley – 1 assist, 3 aces, 10 digs.
Maggie Hedgepath – 4 digs
Alisa St. John – 7 kills, 9 aces, 6 digs.

(25-23, 25-21, 25-10)
(White Plains statistics)

Landry Bussey – 13 kills.
Lucy Medders – 11 assists.
Isabella Pinto – 4 digs.
Rian Chandler – 2 kills.
Jocelyn Harris – 4 kills.

Weaver’s Kailey Forbes focuses on the ball she’s about to play against Saks. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

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