E.A. Sports Today

Look on the bright side

Pleasant Valley falls to the fourth seed out of the North in the Elite 8, but it’s not as bad as you think

Wednesday, Birmingham Crossplex
Carbon Hill (68-9) vs. T.R. Miller (24-6), 8 a.m.
Bayside Academy (39-10) vs. Geraldine (47-11), 8 a.m.
Pleasant Valley (52-8) vs. Providence Christian (44-8), 11 a.m.
Lexington (50-3) vs. Montgomery Academy (41-12), 11 a.m.
Winners play at 3:30 p.m.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

HUNTSVILLE – Pleasant Valley volleyball coach Dana Bryant is fond of saying things happen for a reason and in the Lady Raiders’ case Saturday there may be more truth in that than you might think.

The Lady Raiders lost in the consolation match of the Class 3A North Regional, falling to Geraldine in four sets 25-17, 26-24, 18-25, 25-20.

But the end result isn’t all that bad.

It was generally believed since the Lady Raiders fell to the fourth spot out of the North they would have to face powerful Bayside Academy in their first Elite 8 match since 2011 Wednesday morning.

A not-so-funny thing happened down in Montgomery, though. Bayside was beaten in its regional final in five sets, so the Lady Raiders (52-8) now will play Providence Christian (44-8) at 11 a.m., while Geraldine has to face the 25-time state champions first thing in the morning.

The last time the Admirals didn’t win a state title was 2001.

It won’t be an easy draw, by any means. Providence has been in the state championship match each of the last six years. The last time the Eagles didn’t make it Pleasant Valley beat them in the semifinals.

“It might have all worked to our advantage,” Bryant said.

But the first-round opponent – or avoidance of same — might not be the only “advantage” the Lady Raiders may have fallen into by losing twice Saturday. Finishing fourth in the region also gets them out of playing at 8 a.m. Wednesday, so they can continue with their plans to go team trick-or-treating – dressed as inmates coming off the bus — the Halloween Night before their match.

“Things work out the way they work out for reasons,” Bryant said. “I’m sure there’s a purpose in everything, even losses.

“The Lord works in mysterious ways. Here I am completely upset that we didn’t take care of Geraldine; it may work out to our advantage.”

They might have been able to take care of the Lady Bulldogs if the semifinal match hadn’t taken so much out of them.

The Lady Raiders fell into the consolation match after losing a tight five-setter to Lexington, the eventual region runnerup, 25-23, 21-25, 23-25, 25-23, 15-13 – that admittedly emptied the tank.

They bounced back from dropping the first set to take a 2-1 lead and led 14-10 in the fourth set. But Lexington went on a 13-3 run to forge ahead. PV got it back to 24-23, but couldn’t survive set point.

The fifth set was tight throughout. Lexington tied it at 12 on a point the Lady Raiders’ thought was tipped out and then took the lead for good after a long and spirited rally.

(2-2 in 3A North Regional)
(Combined statistics)

KILLS – Mikayla Kendrick 61, Blakely Malsy 25, Savannah Williams 15, Anna Bryant 47, Rylee Haynes 1, Kamryn Sparks 2, Alisa St. John 28.
ASSISTS – Blakely Malsy 2, Savannah Williams 60, Anna Bryant 71, Alisa St. John 3.
ACES – Mikayla Kendrick 4, Blakely Malsy 1, Savannah Williams 8, Anna Brant 6, Madison Bentley 6, Alisa St. John 9.
DIGS – Mikayla Kendrick 12, Blakely Malsy 10, Savannah Williams 55, Anna Bryant 61, Rylee Haynes 7, Karmyn Sparks 4, Madison Bentley 73, Maggie Hedgepath 35, Alisa St. John 56.
BLOCKS – Mikayla Kendrick 7, Blakely Malsy 18, Savannah Williams 7, Anna Bryant 3, Karmyn Sparks 6, Alisa St. John 13.

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