E.A. Sports Today

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Sand Rock rallies to beat Faith Christian and win the Lady Lions’ tournament; Oxford goes 3-1 at McAdory

By East Alabama Sports Today

Justin Kizor really wanted to win his own tournament – the first tournament he’s put on as the Faith Christian volleyball coach – and his team had a shot at the end, but in the grand scheme of things, he thought his team had a “great day overall.”

The Lady Lions finished second in their Faith Christian Tournament Saturday, dropping a three-set thriller to Sand Rock in the championship match. They won the first set of the final 25-21, then dropped the next two 25-23 and 16-14 (after opening an early lead).

They went 5-1 in the tournament, beating Randolph County, Lincoln, Weaver, Sand Rock and Donoho. The two sets they lost in the finals were the only two they dropped all day.

“I thought we had a great day overall,” Kizor said. “Coming off the break there, waiting a long time before playing Donoho, was tough, but they played well. I thought overall we had a great day.

“I thought we came out focused and did the things we were supposed to do. Obviously, we wanted to win the tournament, but it was a good tournament.”

The Lady Lions jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the decisive set of the final, but Sand Rock broke their momentum with a timeout.

It was still anybody’s match at 12-12. Sand Rock missed a serve at 14-13 to retie it, Faith missed a serve to give Sand Rock a 15-14 lead and the Lady Wildcats closed it out on a winning point that had players from both teams diving across the floor to keep balls alive.

“It was a freaking war, that’s what it was,” Kizor said. “It was a great championship game to end the day.”

The Lady Lions got big performances from a lot of players:

Erin Cheek: 92 assists, 7 kills, 13 digs, 9 aces
Zana Christjohn: 25 kills, 5 blocks
Nicole Frechette: 40 kills, 12 digs, 10 aces
Sydney Johnson: 21 kills, 14 digs, 8 aces
Abby Kazanjian: 55 digs, 14 aces, 5 assists, 5 kills

Faith reached the finals by edging Donoho 25-21, 25-23. Sand Rock reached the finals by defeating Pleasant Valley, 26-24, 25-17.

Donoho, on the floor for the first time with new coach Jamie Clendenin, went 3-2 in the tournament.

The Lady Falcons lost their first match to Pleasant Valley 25-9, 25-13, and then bounced back to beat Westbrook Christian (25-20, 25-22), Cedar Bluff (23-25, 25-23, 15-9) and Sacred Heart (25-21, 27-25) before falling in the semifinals.

“The turnaround from the first match was one of the best turnarounds I’ve seen in a day,” Clendenin said. “As a coach growth is what you want to see and they definitely impressed me.”

Pleasant Valley went 4-1 in the tournament, winning a pair of three-setters along the way. The Lady Raiders beat Donoho (25-13, 25-9), Cedar Bluff (19-25, 27-15, 15-7), Sacred Heart (25-19, 15-25, 15-11) and Westbrook Christian (25-17, 25-18) before bowing in the semifinals.

Blakely Malsy had 16 aces and a 100 serving percentage for the tournament for PV. Here are the Lady Raiders’ top performers:

Savannah Williams: 37 kills, 9 aces, 39 digs, 3 blocks
Blakely Malsy: 23 kills, 16 aces, 27 digs, 3 blocks
Karmyn Sparks: 11 kills, 3 digs, 14.5 blocks
Leah Patterson: 6 kills, 3 aces, 11 digs, 4.5 blocks
Rylee Haynes: 9 kills, 73 assists, 3 aces, 22 digs, 3 blocks
Maggie Hedgepath: 7 aces, 55 digs
Allie Bryant: 3 aces, 11 digs

Oxford goes 3-1

McCALLA – Lakijah Brown enjoyed a strong debut with the Oxford varsity, recording 29 kills, eight blocks and 10 digs as the Lady Jackets went 3-1 in their season-opening McAdory Round-Robin Tournament.

The Lady Jackets defeated Gardendale (25-18, 25-19), Pinson Valley (25-12, 25-19) and host McAdory (25-15, 26-24), and suffered its lone loss to area opponent Albertville (25-23, 25-22). They get another shot at Albertville – and defending 5A state champion Alexandria – at the Oxford Sports Arena Tuesday night.

Tanyia McDonald, Brown’s opposite outside hitter, also had a big weekend with 24 kills, 17 digs and four aces.

Here’s how the rest of the Lady Jackets’ lineup performed:

Emma Connell: 12 digs, 5 kills, 2 aces, 78 assists
Brittany Davis: 12 digs
Deinnah Isaac: 27 digs, 3 aces, 2 kills
Aumaria Lindsey: 13 kills
Shania Vincent: 15 kills, 10 blocks, 6 digs
Aametria Wilson: 10 digs, 2 aces
Kiki Woods: 6 kills, 4 blocks
Alanah Zimmerman: 23 digs

Cover photo of Faith Christian coach Justin Kizor by B.J. Franklin

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