E.A. Sports Today

Historic victory

Cedar Bluff takes two tight sets from Donoho to win its first varsity tournament in coach’s three-year tenure 

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
The Cedar Bluff volleyball team made a little history Saturday night.
The Lady Tigers won their first varsity tournament title in five years and first under coach Lyndsey Mullins when they took two tight sets from Donoho 25-20, 25-22, to win the Faith Christian Tournament.
“This is a big deal; it’s been a while since they have won a tournament, period, so this is huge,” Mullins said. “It’s going to give us a huge boost of confidence, which we struggle with. We struggle with confidence and I think winning this tournament is definitely going to boost that a little bit.”
The Lady Tigers, a Class 2A Elite 8 team a year ago with everybody back, went undefeated in the tournament. They beat Pleasant Valley (25-9, 25-21); Saks (25-22, 25-13); Cleburne County (25-18, 25-23); Faith Christian (25-21, 25-10); and took a three-setter from Sand Rock in which they won the first set, lost a lopsided second and held on after opening a big lead in the third.
“That’s the story of our team,” Mullins said. “We play really, really good and then we beat a team 25-7, 25-8, 25-9 and then we lose the next set. We played really good in spurts and we had our down moments, but we made it here.”
Julianne Wilson led Cedar Bluff in the championship match with 14 kills, five digs and two aces. Hannah Cosby had five kills and nine digs. Abby McBurnett had five kills and Kyla O’Neal had 23 assists.
Donoho went 4-2 in its first action of the season. The Lady Falcons beat Cleburne County (25-20, 25-14), White Plains (25-22, 25-22); Sand Rock (26-24, 12-25, 15-6) and Spring Garden in three sets. They also lost to Pleasant Valley (25-17, 25-21).
Mercy Mangum and Lily Grace Draper each had three kills in the title game. Maggie Wakefield and Mary Marshall Perry each had five blocks. Maggie Miller had 13 assists.
“It was quite a rollercoaster; it’s the beginning of the season,” coach Jamie Clendenin said. “If you’d have asked me this last year was it a rollercoaster, it was one – one that started at the bottom and barely climbed its way up. I would say we’re definitely in a better spot this year than we were last year. I feel like we played a heck of a lot better. I tell them all the time I’d rather see a hard-fought loss than a win that you just go out and get because you’re better.”
The Lady Falcons held the lead in both sets of the championship match. They led 16-15 in the first set, before Cedar Bluff scored five consecutive points to take control. They led the second set early 8-3, then 17-13 and 22-20 before the Lady Tigers scored the final five points of the match.
“We’ve got a young team,” Clendenin said. “They don’t have that push mentality of we’re ahead let’s not playing around. They’re young and they don’t understand that kill mentality of if you let a good team stay around they’re going to beat you, and especially when you’ve got a team you’re playing that has four seniors. Our girls have high hopes this year. I think we’ve got a good shot at going pretty far this year.”
The teams play a rematch Monday night.
Pleasant Valley went 2-2 in the tournament. In addition to taking down Donoho, the Lady Raiders also beat Saks (25-14, 25-15). They lost to Cedar Bluff and Sand Rock (25-9, 25-11). Here are their statistical leaders for the tournament:
KILLS: Leah Patterson 8, Mattie Glass 8, Karmyn Sparks 13, Rylee Haynes 11.
ASSISTS: Mattie Glass 14, Rylee Haynes 25.
ACES: Leah Patterson 7, Rylee Haynes 12.
DIGS: Leah Patterson 11, Mattie Glass 8, Allie Bryant 10, Rylee Haynes 8, Taylor Nix 8.
BLOCKS: Leah Patterson 3, Karmyn Sparks 6, Madison Borders 3.

Oxford in Boddie Tournament

HOOVER – Oxford wrapped up its second day in the Juanita Boddie Tournament with one win in three matches.
The Lady Jackets defeated Lincoln (Fla.) 25-16, 26-24, but fell to Hartselle 25-11, 25-16, and Houston Academy 25-21, 25-15. They went 2-3 in the event and are now 4-3 on the season.
Lisa Montgomery and Aumaria Lindsey both had eight kills and four digs on the day. Lakijah Brown had nine kills and six digs. Shania Vincent had nine kills, 18 digs and seven blocks. Cadie Burn had 26 assists, eight digs and five aces. Tanyia McDonald had 15 digs, five kills and an ace. Aametria Wilson had 20 digs, Arianna Curry had 18 and Brittany Davis 13.
The Lady Jackets return to action Monday at Jacksonville.

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