E.A. Sports Today

J’ville validates

Lady Golden Eagles’ victory over Donoho supports County Tournament seedings; Alexandria wins on Senior Night

Thursday’s matches
Alexandria 3, Wellborn 0 (25-16, 25-14, 25-13)
Jacksonville 3, Donoho 0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-16)
Madison Academy 2, White Plains 0
Southside 2. White Plains 1

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

JACKSONVILLE — David Clark nailed it after Wednesday’s County Volleyball Tournament seeding meeting.

In talking about his team’s Thursday match with Donoho in relation to the seedings that had just been determined, the Jacksonville coach said “If they beat us, people will say, ‘Oh, they screwed up the seedings,’ and if we beat them it’s, ‘Oh yeah, they were right.’ “

Well, they got it right.

Led by their Curling Cousins, Kayla Broom and Brenna Stone — Broom and Stone, get it — the Lady Golden Eagles, installed as the No. 2 tournament seed, swept third-seeded Donoho 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-16).

After the match Clark reiterated his position on what it all means for the Oct. 3-5 tournament — not much. 

“Today was our day, who knows Saturday (Oct. 3) on the County,” he said. “I’m sure he’s not real happy with their performance tonight, but sometimes people make you perform that way. I think they’re stronger than tonight. I don’t think they had a great night, but I also think we did a great job with it.

“It’s not going to matter that Saturday. The only thing it did was we got a win over them, so that always helps. I’d rather be in that position than come into that potential match; that’s an edge to us. I thought it was a good match, competitive, and that’s good for both of us.”

Donoho coach Jamie Clendenin agreed.

“I think even if we had won today the seedings were right; you have to go on what has happened up to that point,” he said. “At the end of the day we’re going to have to play each other and if we don’t take care of business to get there we don’t deserve to be there anyway.

“Our girls set a goal they want to play in JSU. In order to do that we’ve got to go through Jacksonville, which won’t be easy. I feel pretty confident in our ability to play them tough when it gets down to it. We have a couple weeks to prepare.”

Jacksonville won Thursday’s spirited preview of the presumptive County Tournament semifinal Oct. 3 with a strong defensive game, strong runs at the end of each set and, of course, a strong power game up front.

The Lady Golden Eagles broke away from an 18-all tie in the first set with a 7-1 run. They trailed 22-21 in the second set then scored four of the last five points to win it. And they pulled away from a 13-13 tie in the third set with a 9-1 flurry that ultimately became 12 of the last 15 points of the match.

Stone, the power player of the pair, had 26 kills, 12 digs and three blocks. Broom, the quick athlete, had 10 kills, 15 digs and three blocks. Their six combined blocks all went for points. Molly Wilson had 27 assists. Aly Harris had six kills and four blocks. The Lady Golden Eagles had 14 blocks as a team, nine of which went for points.

“I know we can be good offensively, what’s hurt us from taking that step to me is how hard we play defensively and serve receive,” Clark said. “When they’re both going (Stone and Broom), I think we’re really good. They know this, my team knows it, outside of serve receive and how hard we play defensively, it runs through them. We’re as good as they are.

“At Alexandria the other night we were poor in serve receive, but tonight I thought we were really good in serve receive. It’s kind of how the game goes. It was good tonight, it wasn’t Monday. If somebody could find the magic potion that makes it happen every night, I wouldn’t have to coach anymore. I’d sell it and get rich.”

The match marked the return to regular action for Donoho middle Maggie Wakefield. She had played in only one of the Lady Falcons’ previous 17 matches – and in a limited capacity in that one – to rest a shoulder injury. She had six kills, one dig and one assist against Jacksonville.

She made her return with the Lady Falcons trailing 7-2 in the first set and helped them take a 15-12 lead. Her first kill tied the set at 18.

“It’s definitely really important to get her back now,” Clendenin said. “She means a ton to us, but right now she’s got to go back to the progressions of just playing. The first three matches (of the season) she was taking over and everybody else has stepped up around her. She doesn’t have to be the one who carries the team, just play smart ball.

“Tonight, she looked more like last year’s early-on than what she was at the end of the year for us. It’ll be huge to get her back and running on all cylinders.”

(25-19, 25-23, 25-16)
KILLS – Donoho: Estella Connell 1, Lily Grace Draper 6, Maggie Wakefield 6, Mercy Mangum 9, Mary Marshall Perry 5, Sam Wakefield 1, Maggie Miller 1; Jacksonville: Kayla Broom 10, Brenna Stone 26, Aly Harris 6.
ACES – Donoho: Lily Grace Draper 2, Mercy Mangum 2; Jacksonville: Kayla Broom 1.
ASSISTS – Donoho: Maggie Wakefield 1, Sam Wakefield 3, Sarah Waggoner 1, Maggie Miller 22; Jacksonville: Molly Wilson 27, Kayla Broom 2, Brenna Stone 1, Caitlin Clark 1.
DIGS – Donoho: Lily Grace Draper 5, Maggie Wakefield 1, Mercy Mangum 9, Mary Marshall Perry 2, Sam Wakefield 14, Sarah Waggoner 12, Naira Rehman 8, Ayesha Siddiqua 8, Maggie Miller 14; Jacksonville: Molly Wilson 6, Kayla Broom 15, Brenna Stone 12, Caitlin Clark 11, Lexie Callahan 5, Baile Pritchett 7, Natalie Patterson 1.
BLOCKS – Donoho: Estella Connell 1, Mary Marshall Perry 1; Jacksonville: Molly Wilson 2, Kayla Broom 3, Brenna Stone 3, Aly Harris 4, Natalie Patterson 2. 

Alexandria 3, Wellborn 0

The Lady Cubs, the two-time reigning champions installed as the County Tournament’s No. 1 seed for the second year in a row, celebrated their Senior Night with a three-set sweep, 25-16, 25-14, 25-13.

The program recognized its six seniors, all of whom were freshmen when the Lady Cubs won the Class 5A state championship in 2017. They combined for 15 kills, 24 assists, 22 digs and three aces against the Lady Panthers.

Jordan Beason had six kills, two digs and two aces. Anna Johnson had two kills, 24 assists and four digs. Sarah Pelham had 14 digs. Lizbel Tores had four kills and two digs. TyShica Woodgett had three kills and Jolie Weathington had an ace.

“They’ve been great,” coach Whitney Welch said of the group. “They’re a super hard-working group of kids who have earned everything through their dedication to each other and the sport.”

Junior Lexi Weber had nine kills and three aces.

Saturday’s schedule
Hewitt-Trussville Husky Challenge
Pool B
Oxford vs. Gardendale, 10 a.m.
Oxford vs. Chelsea, noon
Oxford vs. Thompson, 1 p.m.
Bracket play to follow

Brooks Invitational
At Brooks HS
Alexandria vs. Haleyville, 11 a.am.
Jacksonville vs. Central-Florence, 11 a.m.
Jacksonville vs. Ramsay, noon
Alexandria vs. Brooks, 1 p.m.
Jacksonville vs. Brooks, 3 p.m.
Alexandria vs. Oneonta, 3 p.m.
Bracket play, 4 p.m.

Donoho Classic
Donoho vs. White Plains 8 a.m.
Decatur Heritage vs. Meek, 9 a.m.
Meek vs. White Plains, 10 a.m.
Donoho vs. Decatur Heritage, 11 a.m.
Meek vs. Donoho, noon
White Plains vs. Decatur Heritage, 1 p.m.
No. 2 vs. No. 3, 2 p.m.
No. 1 vs. No. 4, 3 p.m.
Championship match, 4 p.m.

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