E.A. Sports Today

Lady Lions roar

Senior-laden Faith Christian roars into state tournament; sweeps Lynn, Phillips to earn its first trip to volleyball Elite Eight

Emily Sills (3) has been playing inspired volleyball of late and it has been a key to Faith Christian’s run to the state tournament. (Photos by Tony Bedford)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

HUNTSVILLE — The Faith Christian volleyball team set a goal to make it to the state tournament this year and the Lady Lions pulled it off with two sweeping victories Friday in the Class 1A North Regionals at the VonBraun Center.

The Lady Lions defeated Lynn and Phillips both 3-0. They will play Saturday at 10 a.m. to start setting the seedings for the state tournament next week in Birmingham.

They will play Lindsay Lane (44-10) and then play again at 1 p.m. regardless of that outcome. Athens Bible (41-10) and Meek (30-23) are the other North qualifiers to state.

It was 25-14, 25-7, 25-15 against Lynn and 25-19, 25-22, 25-22 against Phillips.

The Lady Lions (31-10) are the only one of the 10 Calhoun County teams that reached the regionals to make it to State.

“This was one of our goals at the beginning of the season, so for us go out and accomplish that I’m so proud of the whole team,” Faith coach Justin Kisor said. “I had a fan come to me, I don’t know what school he was from, and say we’re the only county team to make it to Birmingham so bring it back to Calhoun County.

“We want to represent Calhoun County and especially our school wherever we go.”

Nicole Frechette led Faith with 13 kills in the Phillips match. Zana Christjohn and Sydnee Johnson combined for 13 kills. Abby Kazanjian has 10 digs, Erin Cheek has 32 assists and Emily Sills has five kills, four aces and one big block that maintained momentum as the Lady Lions rallied from 19-14 down in the third set.

“Honestly, the moment that I will remember most is not a kill, block or dig but the moment right after we won the point to tie the third set after trailing for so long and the team came together to celebrate,” Sills said. “It was at that point that I knew for certain that we would win the game because we were playing more cohesive than we had ever played. Cohesiveness and confidence are the two keys that got us here and they are the two keys for us to bring home the state title.”

Sills has been on a tear in the postseason. Kisor cited her play on the right side as a key to their sweep through the area tournament. She had four kills, two digs and two aces in the semifinals against JCA to get them into the regionals and three kills, five digs and eight aces in the championship match against Donoho.

“Before the area tournament coach Kisor pulled me aside to give me a pep talk about confidence during games,” Sills said. “He reminded me how important it was for us to play as a team and for everyone to be playing with confidence. That helped spark the confidence I needed to play my best.

“After his talk all my teammates helped me not only maintain my confidence but help it grow. My teammates encouraged each other every point rather or not if it is a mistake or a kill. Without the constant encouragement from my teammates and coach I would not be able to play the way I have played in the post season.”

The four state qualifiers from the South are Isabella (26-9), Westminster-Oak Mountain (23-6), Pleasant Home (27-5) and Brantley. They play at the same time as the North finalists in Montgomery.

Nicole Frechette drives the ball over the net for one of her 13 kills against Phillips.

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