E.A. Sports Today

Saturday volleyball

Sacred Heart wins Slamfest, Pleasant Valley wins Sandy Hunter Invitational, Oxford reaches Hewitt-Trussville Gold semifinals

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The fourth and fifth graders at Sacred Heart School might have to strain a little harder to hear their teacher in class Monday morning.

Volleyball coach Haili Clark’s voice usually needs a visit to the trainer’s room after a tournament, and it was a little raspier than normal Saturday after the Lady Cardinals swept through five matches to win the Wellborn Slamfest.

The Lady Cardinals beat Donoho in the finals 25-14, 25-15 after putting away White Plains (25-22, 25-12), Handley (25-21, 25-14), Ranburne (25-18, 25-18) and Wellborn in the semifinals (26-24, 25-23). It was their second tournament title of the season (Saks).

“I’m hoarse all the time, it’s not just from tournaments,” Clark said. “Win or lose, it doesn’t matter. I’m always screaming, getting excited, jumping up and down. That’s just how I am.

“I always go back on Monday and the voice is gone. All the teachers pick on me because I went there (Class of 2013) and they knew me when I was a student. They say some things never change.”

The Lady Cardinals (18-12) had plenty of reason to be excited this weekend. They won their five matches without dropping a set and held strong through the sets that went back and forth.

In just their final two matches, Ayanna Foster had 19 kills, two blocks and three digs; Sophie Allen had 38 assists, seven kills and four digs; Mary Kate Middlebrook had 11 kills and two aces; Angel Nguyen had five kills, five digs, two blocks and an ace; Seanna Johnson had 10 digs and an ace; and Brianna Beyerle had five kills, six blocks and two aces.

“Today we played awesome,” Clark said. “The girls sometimes will be playing and be up like 10 points and the other team will get two or three points and they’ll get frantic, but they stayed very consistent today and their mental game was a lot better than it’s been. They knew just because the other team scored it was not over. They fought all the way to the end.”

The Lady Cardinals had a lot of incentive in the championship match. Donoho was installed one spot higher than them in the Calhoun County Tournament seeding meeting (No. 5 to No. 6), but that didn’t sting as much as the area loss the Lady Falcons pinned on them Thursday night – and the practice Clark put them through following the match.

“We really haven’t talked about (the seeding); I told them we were sixth and we went from there,” she said. “I think they were not happy with the outcome Thursday and not happy with the practice after, either.”

Donoho went 4-1 and improved to 25-12 on the season. The Lady Falcons beat Wellborn (14-25, 27-25, 15-9), Cleburne County (28-26, 25-17), White Plains (25-10, 25-21) and Piedmont (25-13, 25-17) before falling to Sacred Heart in the finals. Mercy Mangum had five kills and Maggie Miller 13 assists in the championship match.

Sandy Hunter Invitational

JACKSONVILLE – Pleasant Valley scored a pair of tight three-set victories over a Southside-Gadsden team that had lost only two matches coming into the tournament to win the Sandy Hunter Invitational for the third year in a row.

The Lady Raiders (21-7) beat the Lady Panthers in pool play 23-25, 25-19, 15-7, then rallied to beat them in the championship match 15-25, 25-17, 15-13.

“To beat them twice in one day was very much a big accomplishment,” PV coach Dana Bryant said. “They’re having a really good season and are a really good team. I wasn’t sure if we were able to pull it off twice in the same day, but that’s a bragging point for my team — the pure effort and heart and want-to and gumption to keep pressing through.

“We hit a few rough spots in that championship game, we didn’t start off quite like we wanted to, but they pressed through and figured it out.”

PV also beat Ashville (25-14, 25-10), Sylvania (25-11, 25-16) and Boaz (25-22, 25-18).

Savannah Williams led the Lady Raiders with 40 kills and 36 digs. Blakely Malsy had 30 kills and 38 digs. Karmyn Sparks had 25 kills and 12 blocks. Leah Patterson had 15 kills. Rylee Hayne had 81 assists, 28 digs and seven aces. Libero Maggie Hedgepath had 47 digs and five aces.

“Maggie Hedgepath keeps us in the ballgame,” Bryant said. “She has just really exceeded my expectation of her this year. I’m very proud of the role she’s taken on the team. She’s definitely part of the glue that holds the team together.”

Jacksonville won the Silver Bracket championship with a 2-0 victory over West End.

Savannah Williams 40, Blakely Malsy 30, Karmyn Sparks 25, Leah Patterson 15, Madison Borders 1, Mattie Glass 4, Rylee Hayne 5, Erin Rose 1.
ASSISTS – Savannah Williams 2, Leah Patterson 1, Madison Borders 2, Mattie Glass 3, Rylee Hayne 81, Maggie Hedgepath 2, Allie Bryant 2.
ACES – Savannah Willaism 2, Blakely Malsy 4, Leah Patterson 4, Rylee Hayne 7, Maggie Hedgepath 5, Allie Bryant 5.
DIGS – Savannah Williams 36, Blakely Malsy 38, Karmyn Sparks 10, Leah Patterson 9, Mattie Glass 3, Rylee Hayne 28, Maggie Hedgepath 47, Allie Bryant 23, Abbi Steele 1.
BLOCKS – Savannah Williams 2, Blakely Malsy 6, Karmyn Sparks 12, Leah Patterson 1, Mattie Glass 1, Rylee Hayne 1.

Hewitt-Trussville Tournament

TRUSSVILLE – Oxford went 3-2 in the Hewitt-Trussville Tournament Saturday, falling in a three-set match to Carver-Montgomery in the Gold Bracket semifinals.

The Lady Jackets fell to Chelsea (25-8, 25-20), then defeated Woodlawn (25-7, 25-9), Shades Valley (25-18, 25-10) and Mortimer Jordan in the Gold Bracket quarterfinals (25-12, 18-25, 15-13) before falling to Carver 25-21, 16-25, 15-13.

Lakijah Brown (29), Tanyia McDonald (24) and Shania Vincent combined for 76 kills in the tournament. Emma Connell recorded 81 assists.

Deinnah Isaac 1, Tanyia McDonald 24, Lakijah Brown 29, Kiki Woods 12, Shania Vincent 23, Emma Connell 5, Aumaria Lindsey 14.
ASSISTS – Alanah Zimmerman 3, Tanyia McDonald 1, Lakijah Brown 1, Kiki Woods 2, Emma Connell 87, Aametria Wilson 1, Sara Paulson 3, Aumaria Lindsey 1.
ACES – Deinnah Issac 6, Alanah Zimmerman 14, Tanyia McDonald 2, Emma Connell 1, Brittany Davis 3, Aametria Wilson 2.
DIGS – Deinnah Isaac 19, Alanah Zimmerman 13, Tanyia McDonald 9, Kiki Woods 1, Shania Vincent 1, Emman Connell 20, Brittany Davis 8, Aametria Wilson 10, Jordan Rhodes 1, Sara Paulson 1, Aumaria Lindsey 2.
BLOCKS – Lakijah Brown 1, Kiki Woods 4, Shania Vincent 3. Emma Connell 1.

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