E.A. Sports Today

Taking titles

Donoho, Pleasant Valley win weekend tournament titles, Ohatchee sweeps its pool

By East Alabama Sports Today

Donoho volleyball coach Jamie Clendenin wanted to put in a new rotation this weekend to give his team a chance to see it before putting it into practice when a key player returns to the lineup.

The Lady Falcons didn’t quite pick up on it as well as the coach would have liked, so he pulled it back in favor of a simpler approach and he discovered keeping it simple made it better.

Donoho won its first tournament championship of the season Saturday, going 4-1 and beating Spring Garden in the final to win the Champions Serve It Up Tournament at the Champions Sports Academy.

“It definitely builds the confidence,” Clendenin said. “I think the biggest thing is we’ve got a big player out and the younger players understand we have other players who can get the job done, too.

“We have a big player out, but we’re good with or without that player. That player makes us significantly better, but if everybody’s playing their game we’re a dadgum good team. We’ve got five people now we can trust the ball to as far as hitting goes. It’s really great.”

The Lady Falcons have been missing middle Maggie Wakefield for the better part of two weeks with a shoulder injury. Even with her out Clendenin went with a rotation they’ll use when she returns so they’ll be familiar with it. 

They weren’t sharp in beating a shorthanded Glencoe team 25-17, 25-10 and lost to Sand Rock 25-19, 25-17 in their second match. Clendenin saw it wasn’t working out, so he pulled it in favor of something more familiar and they responded by looking sharp in beating Glencoe again 25-16, 25-17 and Oxford 25-13, 25-19 before taking down Spring Garden in the championship match 25-15, 25-18.

“It was too confusing,” Clendenin said. “It works, but we went back to something more simple and the girls got in a groove.

“What I talked to the team about was we need to try to get this rotation down so when she comes back we’ll be able to do it. In theory it sounds great, but I’ve got a young player in that position now. She’s looking good, but she’s not at the point she feels comfortable in it.”

It was a lot to put on ninth-grader Estella Connell, subbing for a player who made the all-tournament team at state a year ago. But she hasn’t shied away from the role. On Saturday she had 12 kills, three digs and four blocks.

Clendenin said he was “very impressed” with Mary Marshall Perry’s play. She had 18 kills, seven aces, six digs and three blocks in the five matches and is starting to understand the situational elements of the game better.

Lily Grace Draper led the Lady Falcons with 37 kills. Sam Wakefield helped keep the ball alive with 40 digs. Mercy Mangum recorded 27 kills, six aces and 26 digs, and Maggie Miller had 86 assists. 

Next weekend the Lady Falcons will host their Donoho Classic, a typically deep field reduced to four top 10 1A teams this year due to coronavirus protocols. Decatur Heritage, Meek and Cedar Bluff will participate.

(5-match totals)
KILLS: Mary Marshall Perry 18, Mercy Mangum 27, Lily Grace Draper 37, Estella Connell 12, Yana Osovska 1, Ansley Simmons 1, Sam Wakefield 2.
ASSISTS: Lily Grace Draper 1, Mercy Mangum 1, Sam Wakefield 3, Sarah Waggoner 1, Naira Rehman 2, Ayesha Siddiqua 1, Maggie Miller 86.
ACES: Lily Grace Draper 2, Mercy Mangum 6, Mary Marshall Perry 7, Sam Wakefield 1, Naira Rehman 8, Maggie Miller 8.
DIGS: Mary Marshall Perry 6, Mercy Mangum 26, Lily Grace Draper 18, Estella Connell 3, Yana Osovska 2, Ansley Simmons 4, Sam Wakefield 40, Sarah Waggoner 18, Naira Rehman 28, Ayesha Siddiqua 18, Maggie Miller 24.
BLOCKS: Estella Connell 4, Mary Marshell Perry 3.

PV wins its tournament

JACKSONVILLE – Pleasant Valley beat Plainview twice in three sets and went 4-0 to win its own Sandy Hunter Invitational. The Lady Raiders beat Plainview in the championship match 23-25, 25-20, 15-6. They beat the Lady Bears in their first match of the day, 25-22, 18-25, 15-7.

They also beat Cedar Bluff in pool play 25-10, 25-20, and Isabella in the semifinals, 25-12, 25-16.

Leah Patterson had 46 kills, Rylee Haynes had 69 assists and Allie Bryant had 42 digs to lead the Lady Raiders (11-3).

(4-match totals)
KILLS (94): Leah Patterson 46, Tori Turner 8, Mattie Glass 9, Lily Henry 14, Maddie Schwabe 7, Rylee Haynes 9, Allie Bryant 1.
ASSISTS (73): Leah Patterson 1, Maddie Schwabe 1, Rylee Haynes 69, Allie Bryant 2.
ACES (25): Leah Patterson 4, Mattie Glass 3, Lily Henry 4, Maddie Schwabe 2, Rylee Haynes 6, Allie Bryant 6, 
DIGS (143): Leah Patterson 19, Madison Borders 2, Tori Turner 2, Mattie Glass 23, Lily Henry 23, Maddie Schwabe 12, Rylee Haynes 20, Allie Bryant 42.
BLOCKS (18): Leah Patterson 4, Madison Borders 2, Tori Turner 6, Mattie Glass 2, Lily Henry 1, Maddie Schwabe 1, Rylee Haynes 2. 

Lady Cubs split

HARTSELLE – Alexandria went 2-2 in the Eddie Pruett Ford Tournament. The Lady Cubs beat Austin (2-1) and Mortimer Jordan (2-0) and lost to Sparkman (2-0) in Pool D play, then fell to Bob Jones (2-0) in their first match of bracket play.

They got Lexi Weber back from COVID quarantine and she had nine kills against Austin, three against Mortimer Jordan, four against Sparkman and five against Bob Jones. Jordan Beason had 31 kills and 16 digs in the four matches, Anna Johnson had 71 assists and 17 digs, Kandyn Blankenship had 20 kills and 24 digs, and Sarah Pelham had 28 digs.

“It was big getting Lex back,” coach Whitney Welch said. “We still have work to do to make it all click, but I’m just glad everyone is available.”

(4-match totals)
KILLS: Jordan Beason 31, Anna Johnson 2, Lexi Weber 21, TyShica Woodgett 9, Kandyn Blankenship 20, Blakelley Mobbs 2, Kaylee Smith 3, Rylee Gattis 4, Ashley Wells 4.
ASSISTS: Anna Johnson 71, Sarah Pelham 4, Crossley Sparks 1.
ACES: Jordan Beason 6, Anna Johnson 4, Sarah Pelham 1, Kandyn Blankenship 1, Kaylee Smith 1.
DIGS: Jordan Beason 16, Anna Johnson 17, Sarah Pelham 28, Lexi Weber 3, TyShica Woodgett 3, Kandyn Blankenship 24, Jolie Weathington 9, Kaylee Smith 16, Crossley Sparks 1, Ashley Wells 2.
BLOCKS: Anna Johnson 3, Lexi Weber 2, TyShica Woodgett 5, Rylee Gattis 3.

Ohatchee wins its pool

Ohatchee won all three of its matches in the high school gym pool of the White Plains Invitational. The Lady Indians took down Wellborn, Handley and White Plains (25-20, 25-13).

White Plains went 2-1, beating Wellborn (25-12, 25-11) and Handley (26-24, 25-10). Gracie Morgan and Kassidy Ledbetter led the Lady Wildcats with 21 and 18 kills, respectively. Lily Ponder returned to the lineup and scored six kills.

In the middle school gym pool, West End beat Saks 25-22, 19-25, 15-11, then lost to Piedmont 22-25, 25-21, 15-10 and Ranburne 25-14, 24-26, 15-7 in three consecutive matches.

The tournament was played at two gyms with no crossover to help accommodate COVID-19 social distancing protocols.

“The two gyms went well and everyone got their games in,” White Plains coach Rachel Ford said. “We didn’t look our best at times, but I’m glad we got to play. Tip my hat to Ohatchee. They did well.”

The Ohatchee volleyball team celebrates after another win in the White Plains Invitational. (Photo by Beverly Franklin Wright)

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