E.A. Sports Today

Weaver repeats

Lady Bearcats show an ability to close in all three sets, sweeps Wellborn to win area title for second year in a row

Weaver’s tournament MVP Mariah Thompson (23) sends the ball back across the net against Wellborn in the area championship match. (Photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Brant Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

WEAVER – Because it knows how to finish, Weaver’s volleyball season is far from finished.

The Lady Bearcats used strong finishes in each set Tuesday night to win the Class 3A Area 9 championship for the second year in a row, 25-21, 25-21 and 25-16 over the Wellborn Panthers.

To see a gallery of photos from the match visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

Both teams advance to the North regionals in Huntsville Friday with Weaver (28-12) playing Area 14 runner-up Sylvania at 12:45 p.m. and Wellborn playing Area 14 winner Plainview (37-11) at 11:30 a.m.

“It feels awesome to win back-to-back,” Weaver coach Casey Maples said. “We have some great senior leaders on this team. They are mentally tough and do not get rattled. They tend to take the set in games of five points and by focusing on the smaller numbers it helps us stay focused on the smaller picture and is good for the team.”

All three sets were nip and tuck. The first was tied 10 times with Weaver trailing most of the way. The Lady Bearcats finally caught up at 15-15 and were down 21-19 before Briana Ware took over with three kills in the last six points for the win. Ware had eight kills for the set.

The second set was much the same with the Bearcats tying the score at 16 and pulling away with several kills coming from tournament MVP Mariah Thompson. Wellborn cut the margin to 22-21 on some nice slams from Anaya Lowe and Lauren Wicks, but Rayne Beck finished it off with three straight kills of her seven in the set.

It was Wellborn who rallied in the third set and tied the score at 15. Thompson had five kills and Kailey Forbes served five straight points as the Bearcats wrapped up the match on a 10-1 run. Thompson had 6 kills in the final set.

“We were making mistakes early and as a leader on this team I had to do something to get us going and get ourselves up and we were able to finish off Wellborn,” Thompson said.

Wellborn secured its fourth straight trip to the regionals by knocking off Ohatchee 25-17, 25-13, 25-23 in the opening round. Ohatchee would not go away easily as the Lady Indians fought every point and put together a furious rally in the third set to almost extend the match.

The Lady Indians were trailing 22-15 in the third and went on an 8-2 run to chop the lead to 24-23. A kill by Anaya Lowe put the set away for the Lady Panthers.

Lowe was brilliant at the net with eight kills. Alliyah Thrasher and Lauren Hicks each had a pair of kills.

Bailey Carden had four kills and two aces for Ohatchee. Maddy Howard added three kills and Grace Haynes two kills.


Mariah Thompson, Weaver (MVP)
Weaver – Rayne Beck, Amira Carter, Kaleigh Hindsman.
Wellborn – Elizabeth Wyatt, Anaya Lowe, Aliyah Thrasher.
Ohatchee – Shelby Crump, Maddy Howard.

Wellborn’s Lauren Hicks (6) plays a shot high above the net against Ohatchee. Hicks had two kills in the victory that sent the Lady Panthers to the Class 3A regionals.

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