E.A. Sports Today

Lady Cubs on right track

Alexandria sweeps Oxford, Donoho; in a good place with its game a month before regional tournament

Alexandria’s TyShica Woodgett (22) and Rylee Gattis (2) go up to block a shot from Oxford’s Abbie Mitchell. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

It’s a month before the regional tournament and Whitney Welch likes where her Alexandria volleyball team is right now.

What she’s looking for down the stretch is a team that’s competitive and consistent. Just like she saw in the Lady Cubs’ 2-0 win over Donoho Tuesday night after they put away Oxford 2-0.

The Lady Cubs beat Donoho, a potential County Tournament title game opponent, in the last match of the night, 25-10, 25-13. They beat Oxford 25-17, 25-23. In between, Donoho beat Oxford for the fourth time this season 25-7, 25-23.

“I thought we played good that last game,” Welch said. “For me, right now, it’s consistency and that’s the standard. That’s how we should play all the time. It’s a focus thing and being disciplined and stuff like that. For me, right now, it’s consistently playing like that.

“I thought we played well and I don’t feel like they made a ton of errors, either. I feel like we kind of forced them into some situations, which is what I think when we’re playing really well we’re good at that. If we play like that in the next few weeks we’re going to be doing well, we’re going to be just fine. That’s the key, being able to bring that on a consistent basis.

“I think we’re at the point in the season where we’re playing good enough but it can’t be in spurts, it has to be all the time. I know what we can do and I think the girls know what we can do, but it’s about consistently doing it day-in and day-out starting now.”

The Lady Cubs were on their game from the start, jumping out on Oxford 7-1 in the first set. It got as tight as 9-7, but they pulled back out and maintained a five-point edge through the set until closing it out with the last four points.

They rallied from deficits of 9-1 and 20-14 to win the second set. They used a 7-1 run to tie it at 21. Oxford went back up 23-22, but the Lady Cubs scored the last three points to clinch it.

They jumped out on Donoho 9-1 in their second match and never looked back. They led the second set 12-9, then scored the next 10 points to take control.

“Our seven seniors, this is some of our last county matches, this is our last time to play Oxford and Donoho in the next two weeks, so we really wanted to focus on that and play every game like it could be our last time to play them,” setter Anna Johnson said. “We played with confidence and I think it was a very good night.”

Johnson had 26 assists in the Oxford match and 41 in the doubleheader. Lexi Weber had 10 kills against Oxford, 11 kills and five blocks against Donoho.

“This helped us prepare for the future,” Weber said.

Donoho got off to a roaring start in its match with Oxford, a team it could meet in the County Tournament quarterfinals. The Lady Falcons jumped out to an 11-0 lead in the first match of the night and cruised to the first-set victory, but they didn’t react well to coach Jamie Clendenin’s changing their rotation and had trouble closing out the Lady Jackets and the uncertainty carried over into the Alexandria match.

“The last one against Oxford I screwed them up and mentally they weren’t able to overcome it,” he said. “They have some pretty big hitters over so I rotated them around to where I had a big right side hitter block and a middle to block. Apparently when you do that people forget how to play.

“The one against Oxford was on me, but sometimes when you mentally mess a team up it’s really hard to overcome it. That’s on me. Alexandria’s a good team; I don’t know if we played our best game it would’ve happen, but definitely I messed them up pretty good.”

The Lady Falcons will get a rematch with Alexandria next Monday at Jacksonville when the top three seeds in the County Tournament get together for a tri-match.

“I sure hope we play better next Monday,” Clendenin said. “Because if not, I don’t know they’ll be enough confidence going into the County Tournament to feel like we’ve got a shot.”

To see a gallery of photos from these matches, visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

(25-17, 25-23)
KILLS – Donoho: Lily Grace Draper 1, Maggie Wakefield 2, Mercy Mangum 4, Mary Marshall Perry 2; Alexandria: Jordan Beason 7, Sarah Pelham 1, Lexi Weber 11, TyShica Woodgett 2, Kandyn Blankenship 4, Blakeley Mobbs 1, Rylee Gattis 2.
ACES – Donoho: Mercy Mangum 1; Alexandria: Anna Johnson 2, Sarah Pelham 1.
ASSISTS – Donoho: Estella Connell 1, Sam Wakefield 1, Maggie Miller 6; Alexandria: Anna Johnson 15, Sarah Pelham 3, Lexi Weber 1, Crossley Sparks 1.
DIGS – Donoho: Lily Grace Draper 3, Maggie Wakefield 3, Mercy Mangum 1, Mary Marshall Perry 1, Sam Wakefield 8, Sarah Waggoner 7, Naira Rehman 8, Ayesha Siddiqua 4, Maggie Miller 4; Alexandria: Jordan Beason 3, Anna Johnson 7, Sarah Pelham 8, Lexi Weber 1, Kandyn Blankenship 8, Kaylee Smith 4, Rylee Gattis 1, Abby Prichard 1.
BLOCKS – Alexandria: Lexi Weber 5, TyShica Woodgett 2.

KILLS – Lily Grace Draper 5, Maggie Wakefield 6, Mercy Mangum 7, Mary Marshall Perry 3.
ACES – Mercy Mangum 1, Lily Grace Draper 2, Naira Rehman 2.
ASSISTS – Estella Connell 1, Sam Wakefield 2, Sarah Waggoner 1, Maggie Miller 14.
DIGS – Lily Grace Draper 3, Maggie Wakefield 3, Mercy Mangum 1, Mary Marshall Perry 1, Sam Wakefield 13, Sarah Waggoner 11, Naira Rehman 13, Ayesha Siddiqua 6, Maggie Miller 5.
BLOCKS – Maggie Wakefield 1.

KILLS – Jordan Beason 16, Sarah Pelham 1, Lexi Weber 21, TyShica Woodgett 3, Kandyn Blankenship 9, Blakeley Mobbs 1, Kaylee Smith 1, Rylee Gattis 5.
ACES – Jordan Beason 1, Anna Johnson 2, Sarah Pelham 3, Kandyn Blanakenship 1.
ASSISTS – Anna Johnson 41, Sarah Pelham 3, Lexi Weber 1, Crossley Sparks 1.
DIGS – Jordan Beason 7, Anna Johnson 12, Sarah Pelham 15, Lexi Weber 1, Kandyn Blankenship 17, Kaylee Smith 10, Rylee Gattis 2, Abby Prichard 1.
BLOCKS – Lexi Weber 5, TyShica Woodgett 4, Rylee Gattis 1.

Oxford’s Lisa Montgomery (R) tries to block a Donoho kill. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

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