E.A. Sports Today

Lady Cubs clinch

Alexandria locks up 5A Area 12 top seed, automatic trip to regionals, with win over Southside, follows with a win over PV

Tuesday’s matches
Alexandria 3, Southside 2 (19-25, 25-15, 25-17, 15-25, 15-11)
Alexandria 2, Pleasant Valley 1 (25-12, 14-25, 17-15)
Jacksonville 3, Hokes Bluff 0 (25-23, 25-20, 27-25)
Lincoln 3, Talladega 0 (25-18, 25-11, 25-14)
Lincoln 2, Sylacauga 0 (25-18, 25-23)
Oxford 3, Fort Payne 1 (23-25, 25-19, 25-14, 25-13)
Pleasant Valley 2, Southside 0 (25-20, 25-21)
Sacred Heart, Glencoe at Weaver
Wellborn at Saks
White Plains at Ohatchee

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The road for Alexandria to defend its Class 5A volleyball state championship began Tuesday night.

The first thing the Lady Cubs had to do, regardless how well they might have played during the season, was get back to the regionals in Huntsville.

They made sure of that Tuesday, coming from behind to beat Southside-Gadsden 3 sets to 2 for the second time this season to clinch top seed and hosting rights for the Class 5A Area 12 area tournament Oct. 22.

In doing that, since they play in a three-team area, they punched their ticket to the regional no matter what they do in the area tournament. Southside and Etowah will play for the area’s second regional bid in the first round of the tournament.

“It’s (been) an interesting year,” Alexandria coach Whitney Welch said. “We all have to learn to embrace the target and stay hungry and it’s been tough, but it’s making them better.”

It was intense. Southside won the first set 25-19, Alexandria won the next two 25-15 and 25-17, Southside won the fourth 25-15 and Alexandria won the tiebreaker 15-11.

Later, the Lady Cubs (21-10) edged Pleasant Valley 25-12, 14-25, 17-15 in a potential preview of Saturday’s 2/3 semifinal in the Calhoun County Tournament. In between, the Lady Raiders (27-8) took down Southside 25-20, 25-21.

Kendal Bumpus led the Lady Cubs in the Southside match with 22 kills and six blocks; she had 31 kills and eight blocks total. Madison Chastain had 16 kills against the Lady Panthers.

“I just wanted to be able to host area because it’s my senior year and I wanted to be able to play at home one more time,” Chastain said. “I did good, but I didn’t do it for me, I did it for my team.”

The Lady Cubs’ defense also was strong in the Southside match, particularly late as they kept many balls alive for the front row to finish off for points. Kaitlin Harvey had 21 digs, Kinsley Gregoria 20 and Mattie Wade 11. Sophomore setter Anna Johnson had 40 assists and six digs.

“It was intense,” said Johnson, a late-season call-up during last season’s championship run. “We have to play with that intensity all the time. Being a sophomore it’s different this year because I’m one of the youngest and playing with all that intensity is just … indescribable.”

Because Alexandria won the first meeting in five sets, Southside needed to win here in four or fewer to take the top seed, and the Lady Panthers got off to a good start. They pulled away in the first set with eight straight points after a point reversal to Alexandria cut their lead to 11-10.

The Lady Cubs steadily pulled away in the second set and used an 8-1 run midway through the third set to gain control of it. Southside wanted that free pass to the regionals just as badly and wasn’t backing down. The Lady Panthers ran out to a 7-2 lead in Set 4 and stretched it to 20-10.

The tiebreaker looked to be an easy pick for Alexandria as it opened an 10-4 lead, but the Lady Panthers came roaring back and got it to 11-10. It was all Alexandria after that with Bumpus scoring a pair of kills.

“I’m proud of our girls for fighting; their fight was good,” Welch said. “They still have to learn to be more consistent.

“It’s hard to pull out of those matches. No matter what last year was it’s not last year anymore. It’s a new team; we have to learn how to win. Everybody wants to talk about (last year), but this team has to have a life of their own, a legacy of their own, so they have to learn how to win themselves, this year.”

(Alexandria boxscore)
KILLS – Kendal Bumpus 22, Mattie Wade 4, Madison Wallace 4, Madison Chastain 16, Anna Johnson 1, Maysen Schur 8, Lexie Weber 2.
ASSISTS – Kayleigh Steen 5, Kinsley Gregoria 1, Anna Johnson 40.
DIGS – Kendal Bumpus 1, Mattie Wade 11, Kaitlin Harvey 21, Kinsley Gregoria 20, Madison Chastain 1, Anna Johnson 6, Maysen Schur 1, Ashley Parker 6, Lexie Weber 1.
ACES – Madison Wallace 2.
BLOCKS – Kendal Bumpus 6, Mattie Wade 1, Maysen Schur 2, Lexie Weber 1.

(Alexandria boxscore)
KILLS – Kendal Bumpus 9, Mattie Wade 4, Kayleigh Steen 2, Madison Wallace 3, Madison Chastain 1, Maysen Schur 3, Lexie Weber 1.
ASSISTS – Kayleigh Steen 16.
DIGS – Kendal Bumpus 3, Mattie Wade 7, Kayleigh Steen 2, Kaitlin Harvey 3, Kinsley Gregoria 6, Madison Wallace 1, Madison Chastain 1, Ashley Parker 4,
ACES – Mattie Wade 2, Kaitlin Harvey 2, Kinsley Gregoria 1, Madison Wallace 1.
BLOCKS – Kendal Bumpus 2, Madison Wallace 1, Maysen Schur 3, Lexie Weber 2.
RECORD – Alexandria 21-10.
NOTES – Alexandria clinches top seed in Class 5A Area 12.

(PV’s two-match boxscore)
KILLS – Savannah Williams 10, Blakely Malsy 15, Karmyn Sparks 14, Leah Patterson 1, Rylee Haynes 2.
ASSISTS – Mattie Glass 1, Rylee Haynes 13.
ACES – Savannah Williams 1, Blakely Malsy 2, Rylee Haynes 1, Abbi Steele 1.
DIGS – Savannah Williams 15, Blakely Malsy 11, Karmyn Sparks 3, Leah Patterson 2, Mattie Glass 1, Rylee Haynes 9, Allie Bryant16, Abbi Steele 11.
BLOCKS – Savannah Williams 2, Blakely Malsy 2, Karmyn Sparks 7, Leah Patterson 1, Madison Borders 1, Rylee Haynes 1.
RECORD – Pleasant Valley 27-8.

(Oxford boxscore)
KILLS – Tanyia McDonald 7, Lakijah Brown 12, Kiki Woods 4, Shania Vincent 16, Emma Connell 4, Aumaria Lindsey 11.
ASSISTS – Deinnah Isaac 2, Tanyia McDonald 1, Emma Connell 39, Jordan Rhodes 1.
DIGS – Deinnah Isaac 8, Alanah Zimmerman 4, Tanyia McDonald 13, Lakijah Brown 4, Kiki Woods 2, Shania Vincent 1, Emma Connell 10, Brittany Davis 3, Aametria Wilson 7, Jordan Rhodes 6, Aumaria Lindsey 2.
ACES – Deinnah Isaac 1, Tanyia McDonald 3, Emma Connell 2, Brittany Davis 2, Aametria Wilson 1, Jordan Rhodes 1.
BLOCKS – Lakijah Brown 1, Kiki Woods 2,
RECORD – Oxford 27-15.
NOTES – Oxford is the No. 2 seed in Class 6A Area 13.

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