E.A. Sports Today

Who’s No. 1?

Alexandria makes its case to be the No. 1 seed in Calhoun County Tournament; Weaver stuns PV adding to bracket debate

Alexandria’s Sarah Pelham (12) celebrates a point in the Lady Cubs’ victory over Oxford. (Photos by B.J. Franklin)

Tuesday’s results
Alexandria 2, Oxford 0 (25-8, 25-21)
Alexandria 2, Pell City 0 (25-9, 25-15)
Donoho 3, JCA 0 (25-19, 25-5, 25-17)
Faith Christian 2, Glencoe 0 (25-16, 25-18)
Faith Christian 2, Westbrook Christian 1 (21-25, 25-19, 15-9)
Ohatchee 3, Gaston 0 (25-11, 25-14, 25-18)
Oxford 2, Pell City 0 (25-10, 25-16)
Weaver 3, Pleasant Valley 1 (21-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-23)
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
OXFORD –While the focus is firmly on bigger goals and getting better every time it hits the floor, the Alexandria volleyball team made its last and loudest pitch to lock down the No. 1 seed in Wednesday’s Calhoun County Tournament seeding meeting Tuesday night when it beat the biggest of the perennial county powers.
The Lady Cubs moved to 8-0 against in-county competition when they swept Oxford in 38 minutes, 25-8, 25-21 and then put away Pell City in 35 minutes, 25-9, 25-15. Oxford beat Pell City in the night’s final match 25-10, 25-16.
The justification for Alexandria’s first-ever No. 1 seed in the seeding meeting at Pleasant Valley is its in-county body of work. The Lady Cubs have two wins over presumptive No. 2 Jacksonville and single wins over Donoho, Wellborn, Faith Christian, Weaver and, now, Oxford. 
“You would think that we would be the No. 1 seed, but I’ve got to say we have some really good teams in the county so I don’t put my eggs in that basket,” Lady Cubs coach Whitney Welch said. “Since I’ve been coaching – assistant, head, whatever – I don’t know that we’ve been the No. 1 seed, and we won the tournament not the No. 1 seed.”
The Lady Cubs won it last year on their own floor as the No. 2. They also were No. 2 in 2017 (the year they won the state title), but were No. 4 in 2016 and 2015, and No. 3 in 2014. You want more ammunition for this year’s meeting? Oxford was installed as the No. 1 seed last year with an undefeated in-county record at the time of the seeding meeting.
The tournament is Oct. 5, so there’s still a lot of volleyball to played after the meeting and the event.
“You would think that we would be, but it’s really all about how you play moving forward,” Welch said. “We’re continuously trying to get better, trying to be better than we were the day before.”
Junior hitter Lexi Weber believes the Lady Cubs have “done well enough” to be there at No. 1, but shares junior setter Anna Johnson’s sentiment that “we’re not worried about the seedings.” Instead, they’re just looking to get better every day.
The Lady Cubs played some of their best volleyball in the first set against the Lady Jackets, closing out the set in 13 minutes. They controlled what seemed like 95 percent of the balls. The second set was a lot tighter, but they pulled away from a 21-20 lead on a kill by Johnson, a long return, an ace by Kandyn Blankenship and the clinching kill by Jordan Beason.
Beason had 14 kills in the match that was hotly contested at the net. Blankenship had six kills, Sarah Pelham had 12 digs and Johnson had nine digs and 21 assists. Weber had three kills and Madison Wallace and Weber had three blocks apiece.
“I really like this team,” Welch said. “They want to get better, they work really hard, I feel like we have a really good culture, so I think when you have that combination of things I feel you can get a lot better fast and I feel like we’ve done that. … It’s more about getting consistent for us. We can do it, we just have to sustain it. We’re really working hard on that.”
The 1 and 2 seeds seem to be solid, but after that opening discussion the meeting could get wild. Oxford has beaten Pleasant Valley, PV has beaten Donoho and Donoho has beaten Oxford. And what of improved Ohatchee, which has a split with Donoho, and Weaver, which knocked off Pleasant Valley Tuesday?
The debate begins at 4 p.m.
COUNTY NO. 1 SEEDS (since 2014)
2018   Oxford
2017   Pleasant Valley 
2016   Pleasant Valley
2015   Oxford
2014   Oxford

Alexandria 2, Oxford 0
(25-8, 25-21)
KILLS – Alexandria: Jordan Beason 14, Madison Wallace 4, Lexi Weber 1, Anna Johnson 1, Kandyn Blankenship 6, Kaylee Smith 2.
ASSISTS – Alexandria: Sarah Pelham 3, Anna Johnson 21.
ACES – Alexandria: Lexi Weber 3, Anna Johnson 1, Kandyn Blankenship 1.
DIGS – Alexandria: Jordan Beason 6, Madison Wallace 3, Lexi Weber 3, Sarah Pelham 12, Anna Johnson 9, Kandyn Blankenship 6, Kaylee Smith 6.
BLOCKS – Madison Wallace 3, Lexi Weber 3.
Alexandria 2, Pell City 0
(25-9, 25-15)
KILLS – Alexandria: Jordan Beason 6, Kylie Jordan 3, Lexi Weber 6, TyShica Woodgett 6, Anna Johnson 1, Crossley Sparks 2, Blakeley Mobbs 3.
ASSISTS – Alexandria: TyShica Woodgett 1, Sarah Pelham 1, Anna Johnson 21, Blakeley Mobbs 1.
ACES – Alexandria: Jordan Beason 1, Sarah Pelham 2, Anna Johnson 3, Blakeley Mobbs 1. 
DIGS – Alexandria: Jordan Beason 5, Lexi Weber 1, Sarah Pelham 5, Jolie Weathington 2, Anna Johnson 4, Crossley Sparks 1, Blakeley Mobbs 2.
BLOCKS – Alexandria: TyShica Woodgett 2, Blakeley Mobbs 1.
Oxford 2, Pell City 0
(25-10, 25-16)
KILLS – Oxford: Lakijah Brown 6, Kiki Woods 3, Shania Vincent 2, Lisa Montgomery 6, Cadie Burn 1, Aumaria Lindsey 3, 1Deinnah 3.
ASSISTS – Oxford: Cadie Burn 11, Aumaria Lindsey 2.
ACES – Oxford: Arianna Curry 3, Lakijah Brown 3, Shania Vincent 3, Cadie Burn 2, Aametria Wilson 2
DIGS – Oxford: Brittany Davis 7, Arianna Curry 1, Shania Vincent 3, Lisa Montgomery 2, Cadie Burn 2, Aametria Wilson 2.
BLOCKS – Oxford: Kiki Woods 1, Shania Vincent 1, Lisa Montgomery 1. 

Oxford’s front line goes for the block against Alexandria’s Jordan Beason (L).

Weaver stuns PV

WEAVER – Haley Homesley had eight kills and three aces and Weaver deployed a defense that brought an extra blocker to the net and rallied after losing the first set to stun Pleasant Valley 3-1, ending the Lady Raiders’ lengthy area winning streak and giving coach Chelsea Mize an early birthday present.
PV won the first set 25-21, but Weaver rallied to win the next three 25-20, 25-19, 25-23.
“This is a huge win,” said Mize, who celebrates her 27thbirthday Thursday. “I don’t know if Weaver volleyball has ever beaten Pleasant Valley. It wasn’t when I played and coach (Casey) Maples said she was never able to beat them.”
The Lady Bearcats got contributions across the board, but the biggest impact was Mize’ decision to move the setters up to provide extra blocking on PV middle hitter Karmyn Sparks.
“We adjusted our defense and when we ran it properly it helped, it made a difference,” Mize said. “I told them if we could shut down that middle we could beat them. We were digging the ball from the outside hitter pretty well.”
Senior libero Makayla Lilio had 19 digs, senior setter Rylee Hewitt had 10, senior McKenna Flynn nine and freshman Keelie Leach eight.
Weaver 3, Pleasant Valley 1
(21-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-23)
KILLS – Weaver: Haley Homesley 8, Kayleigh Hindsman 5, McKenna Flynn 4, Madison Atchley 1.
ASSISTS – Weaver: Rylee Hewitt 8, Marlee Wells 8.
ACES – Weaver: Haley Homesley 3, Rylee Hewitt 1, Marlee Wells 1, Makayla Lilio 2, Keelie Leach 2.
DIGS – Weaver: Haley Homesley 2, Kayleigh Hindsman 2, Rylee Hewitt 10, McKenna Flynn 9, Marlee Wells 6, Makayla Lilio 19, Madison Atchley 4, Keelie Leach 8.
Faith Christian 2, Glencoe 0
Faith Christian 2, Westbrook Christian 1
The Lady Lions rallied from one set down to defeat Westbrook Christian 21-25, 25-19, 15-9) and complete a sweep of Etowah County teams. They also beat Glencoe 25-16, 25-18.
Sydnee Johnson had 13 kills, six blocks and seven digs. Sarah Jessica Christjohn had 16 kills, four blocks and eight digs. Devan White had 12 digs and Lily Becke recorded 32 assists.
Donoho 3, JCA 0
The Lady Falcons came from behind in the first and third sets to take an area victory from JCA, 25-19, 25-5, 25-17. Donoho trailed in the first set 19-18 and 10-2 in the third. Maggie Wakefield had 12 kills and Maggie Miller 20 assists for Donoho. Lily Grace Draper had six kills and Mercy Mangum five.  

Alexandria’s Lexi Weber (10) goes for the slam against Oxford.

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