E.A. Sports Today

Looking to be sharp

Alexandria sweeps Weaver, Faith Christian, but still searching for consistency as postseason looms

Tuesday’s matches
Alexandria 2, Weaver 0 (25-17, 25-22)
Alexandria 2, Faith Christian (25-12, 25-23)
Cherokee County 2, Sheffield 0 (25-16, 25-23)
Faith Christian 2, Weaver 0 (25-15, 25-18)
Lincoln 3, Cleburne County 0 (25-15, 25-18, 25-15)
Pleasant Valley 3, Sacred Heart 0 (25-16, 25-18, 25-17)
Ragland 3, Talladega Co. Central 0 (25-22, 25-13, 25-22)
Sand Rock 2, Glencoe 0 (25-17, 25-20)
Sand Rock 2, Cherokee County 0 (25-14, 25-12)
Talladega 3, Anniston 0 (25-21, 25-14, 25-19)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Alexandria volleyball coach Whitney Welch hopes her team took away more than a couple straight-set victories Tuesday night.

She is hoping the Lady Cubs took away the understanding that it will take a high level of consistency to be successful at this most important home stretch of the season.

The Lady Cubs defeated Weaver 25-17, 25-22 and host Faith Christian 25-12, 25-23 in a rematch of the Calhoun County Tournament final. But after looking sharp in the first set against Faith, they struggled to get through the second set and that roller-coaster ride is not conducive to a long run in the upcoming postseason.

“That’s how we played all year and it’s going to be real important for us to figure that out before our area (tournament) game,” Welch said. “We can’t be a roller-coaster.

“I’ve seen it in everybody, in a lot of teams, it’s kind of everywhere, but that’s no excuse. We have to figure out how to be more mentally tough; we’ve got to figure out how to put balls away in certain rotations. We have Kendal (Bumpus) out there and then we struggle. We’ve been at it long enough we should be able to figure that out.

“We pulled it out and all that good stuff, but we went to Blalock (the Margaret Blalock Invitational at Homewood) this weekend to get a lot better and see a lot of things to hopefully slow the play down for us. I feel like we just came out and played about like we usually do.”

The reigning county and defending state champion Lady Cubs are guaranteed a spot in the Class 5A North regionals by virtue of winning their three-team area regular-season title. They’ll host the Etowah-Southside winner for the area title Oct. 22.

The Lady Cubs couldn’t have played any better in the first set against Faith. In a set reminiscent of their clinching fourth set in the county finals they led from the start and took control with an 11-1 run in which hardly any balls hit their side of the floor.

The second set started in a similar fashion – all the way down to Faith coach Justin Kisor calling a time out at 8-3 in hopes of slowing Alexandria’s momentum. The Lady Cubs seemed headed to an easy set win when they extended the lead to 19-12, but at that point the Lady Lions – celebrating their Senior Night – kicked off the comeback that drew them even at 23-23.

The Lady Cubs put it away when Nicole Frechette’s cross-court winner just missed landing in bounds and Bumpus buried a ball that Abby Kazanjian couldn’t return for her eighth kill of the match and 16th of the night..

The same thing happened in their Weaver match. They won the first set without incident, but then were in a dogfight to close it out. Weaver had leads of 14-12, 19-17 and 21-20 in the second set before the Lady Cubs scored five of the last six points to win it.

“It’s been like this all year,” Welch said. “It’s not the other team, it’s more us, keeping the mindset where it needs to be.

“We really need to some practice time. We haven’t had that lately. So we get three days where we’re just going to practice and I think that’s going to really help us because there are some things we need to work on that I saw tonight we really need to clean up. I told them they need to come with their best effort in practice. We’ve got to get better in three days. A lot better.”

Welch didn’t bring up the Lady Cubs’ 3-1 county final victory in advance of Tuesday’s match, but Kisor thought it might have had an impact on his team.

“I thought our girls were trying to be too perfect and were thinking about that game,” Kisor said. “They didn’t make any mistakes and we made a lot of mistakes (in the first set). They don’t change the game, but our passing was bad. The second game I thought we got in too big of a hole before we started playing. You can’t make mistakes against a good team and expect to come back.”

(def. Weaver 25-17, 25-22; def. Faith 25-12, 25-23)
KILLS – Kendal Bumpus 16, Mattie Wade 2, Kayleigh Steen 2, Lanie Dreyer 3, Madison Wallace 2, Madison Chastain 8, Anna Johnson 2, Maysen Schur 2, Kyleigh Rhodes 1, Jordan Beason 1, Lexie Weber 2.
ASSISTS – Kayleigh Steen 12, Kinsley Gregoria 1, Anna Johnson 15.
ACES – Mattie Wade 3, Kaitlin Harvey 1, Kinsley Gregoria 1, Madison Wallace 2, Ashley Parker 1, Jordan Beason 1.
DIGS – Mattie Wade 6, Kayleigh Steen 6, Kaitlin Harvey 19, Kinsley Gregoria 10, Madison Wallace 6, Madison Chastain 5, Anna Johnson 5, Kameron Simpson 2, Kyleigh Rhodes 3, Ashley Parker 7, Jordan Beason 3.
BLOCKS – Kendal Bumpus 1, Lanie Dreyer 1, Madison Wallace 3, Madison Chastain 2, Maysen Schur 1, Lexie Weber 3.

(def. Weaver 25-15, 25-18; lost to Alexandria 25-12, 25-23)
KILLS – Abby Kazanjian 2, Erin Cheek 1, Nicole Frechette 12, Zana Christjohn 6, Sydnee Johnson 10, S.J. Christjohn 4, S.K. McVeigh 3.
ASSISTS – Erin Cheek 35.
ACES – Abby Kazanjian 2, Erin Cheek 4, Nicole Frechette 1, Emily Sills 4, S.J. Christjohn 1, S.K. McVeigh 2.
DIGS – Abby Kazanjian 19, Erin Cheek 6, Nicole Frechette 5, Zana Christjohn 5, Emily Sills 1, S.K. McVeigh 3.
BLOCKS – Sydnee Johnson 3, Emily Sills 1, S.J. Christjohn 1.

(lost to Faith 25-15, 25-18; lost to Alexandria 25-17, 25-22)
Vs. Alexandria

KILLS – Haley Homesley 9, McKenna Flynn 4.
ASSISTS – Amira Carter 16.
DIGS – Haley Homesley 7, Amira Carter 5.
BLOCKS – McKenna Flynn 2.
Vs. Faith
KILLS – Abby Gaines 6, Haley Homesley 8.
ASSSTS – Amira Carter 12.
RECORD – Weaver 17-18.

(def. Sacred Heart 25-16, 25-18, 25-17)
KILLS – Savannah Williams 14, Blakely Malsy 14, Karmyn Sparks 3, Leah Patterson 3.
ACES – Leah Patterson 1, Rylee Haynes 2, Maggie Hedgepath 1, Allie Bryant 1.
DIGS – Savannah Williams 17, Blakely Malsy 7, Karmyn Sparks 1, Leah Patterson 1, Madison Borders 1, Mattie Glass 2, Rylee Haynes 7, Maggie Hedgepath 12, Allie Bryant 1.
BLOCKS – Blakely Malsy 3, Karmyn Sparks 4, Leah Patterson 2, Rylee Haynes 1.
RECORD – Pleasant Valley 31-14

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