E.A. Sports Today

All right, up all night

Donoho returns to Class 1A title match, Alexandria, Spring Garden fall in semis; Jacksonville, Pleasant Valley go for it Wednesday

(Bill Harris Arena, Birmingham)
CLASS 2A, noon: Addison (36-16) vs. G.W. Long (32-4)
CLASS 6A, 2 p.m.: Hartselle (54-11) vs. Mountain Brook (33-12)
CLASS 1A, 4 p.m.: Donoho (32-14) vs. Bayshore Christian (20-10)
CLASS 5A, 6 p.m.: West Point (50-15) vs. Bayside Academy (51-4)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

BIRMINGHAM – The players on the Donoho volleyball team at the state tournament had an 11 p.m. curfew Tuesday night after a late dinner. By 11:05, they were tucked into their beds, getting a long, restful sleep before playing for the state championship the next day.

But while the girls may be dreaming of great things, coach Jamie Clendenin will still be hard at it. He’s likely to still be up when the team gets called to breakfast. pouring over tape and scouting reports all night looking for an edge.

Lily Grace Draper had 16 kills in each of Donoho’s two victories Tuesday night. (File photo by B.J. Franklin)

The Lady Falcons are going back to the Class 1A state championship match after sweeping through Millry and Pleasant Home in the Elite Eight at the Birmingham Crossplex. The defending champs (33-14) will face first-timer Bayshore Academy (20-10) and its 6-foot senior middle hitter Cassidy Granger for the title Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the adjacent Bill Harris Arena.

“I’ll be up all night watching film, but that’ll be all right,” Clendenin said. “I hadn’t been relaxed since area started. That pressure of being No. 1 and everybody expecting you to win is never fun. That’s stressful.

“I want to be the team that people are like, ‘Oh, they’re not that good, you got ‘em’ and then we show up and show them how we play. Unfortunately, we’re at a point now where people are going to give us their A-game because people have heard about us and I feel like we’ve done a good job of bringing Donoho volleyball back to where it’s supposed to be.”

Sophomore outside hitter Lily Grace Draper isn’t surprised by her coach’s overnight plan.

“I know he wants the best for us,” Draper said. “I know he’s going to do that for us because he wants to be prepared for tomorrow so he can know what we can do to be good. We know he cares for us and wants us to do good.”

The Lady Falcons simply had more weapons than their two opponents Tuesday and swept Millry 25-12, 25-13, 25-11 and Pleasant Home in the semifinals 25-22, 25-17, 25-9.

Draper scored 16 kills in each match and had 10 digs in the semifinal. Maggie Wakefield had 18 total kills, Naira Rehman had 21 total digs, Sam Wakefield had 24 total digs, Estella Connell had seven blocks (six against Pleasant Home) and Maggie Miller had 47 total assists and six aces.

Their biggest challenge came in the first set of the semifinal. They Lady Falcons jumped out to a 15-3 lead, but Pleasant Home brought it back to 22-19.

“I think that was probably a good thing,” Clendenin said. “Most coaches may not say that, but I think it was a good thing, because you’ve got to know when you get ahead of a team in this situation you don’t play around you’ve got to put them away.

“You’re going to hear this from me (a long time), but the worst thing you can ever give a team is hope. They gave Pleasant Home way too much hope because if we had finished them out like we should have that first set, we would have beaten them (more handily) the last two.”

Last year in the finals, on Halloween, the Lady Falcons outlasted Westminster-Oak Mountain 3-2, staving off six match points in the fourth set and opening a big lead in the 15-point tiebreaker. It was Donoho’s 11thstate title, but first since 2012 – the last time they went back-to-back. 

Bayshore Christian, eligible for the AHSAA title for the first time, reached the finals with a 3-0 sweep of Lindsay Lane. Granger led the Eagles with 24 kills and seven digs, while setter Brooke Kearney had 24 assists. Ashlyn Whiteside added 11 kills and seven kills, and Avery Bramblett had four aces.

“I’d love for our girls to go out and play a really strong game tomorrow,” Clendenin said. “I hope both teams bring their A-game and it’s a fun game.

“Honestly, I’d love to prove to everybody that last year wasn’t a fluke, too. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard from somebody, ‘Oh, you guys got lucky breaks.’ Yeah, we did, but we still had to play the games.”

(25-12, 25-13, 25-11)
KILLS: Sam Wakefield 1, Estella Connell 2, Lily Grace Draper 16, Maggie Wakefield 12, Mercy Mangum 5, Mary Marshall Perry 3.
ASSISTS: Sam Wakefield 2, Naira Rehman 1, Maggie Miller 25.
ACES: Sam Wakefield 1, Naira Rehman 1, Ayesha Siddiqua 2, Maggie Miller 4, Lily Grace Draper 1, Mary Marshall Perry 2.
DIGS: Sam Wakefield 10, Sarah Waggoner 2, Naira Rehman 10, Ayesha Siddiqua 5, Maggie Miller 4, Estella Connell 3, Lily Grace Draper 4, Maggie Wakefield 2, Mercy Mangum 2, Mary Marshall Perry 3.
BLOCKS: Estella Connell 1, Mary Marshall Perry 1.

(25-22, 25-17, 25-9)
KILLS: Estella Connell 1, Lily Grace Draper 16, Maggie Wakefield 6, Mercy Mangum 5, Mary Marshall Perry 9, Sam Wakefield 1.
ASSISTS: Maggie Wakefield 1, Mary Marshall Perry 1, Sam Wakefield 2, Naira Rehman 1, Maggie Miller 22.
ACES: Lily Grace Draper 2, Mary Marshall Perry 1, Sam Wakefield 2, Naira Rehman 4, Maggie Miller 2.
DIGS: Estella Connell 3, Lily Grace Draper 10, Maggie Wakefield 4, Mercy Mangum 2, Mary Marshall Perry 5, Sam Wakefield 14, Sarah Waggoner 1, Naira Rehman 11, Ayesha Siddiqua 7, Maggie Miller 1.
BLOCKS: Estella Connell 6, Maggie Wakefield 4, Mary Marshall Perry 2.

Class 5A

Alexandria fought off an 0-2 deficit and two match points in the fifth to beat Satsuma in the quarterfinals, but couldn’t find the same magic against West Point in the semifinals.

The Lady Cubs dropped the first two sets to Satsuma 25-11, 25-21, but roared back to tie the match 25-10, 25-15. They fell behind in the tiebreaker 11-9, 13-12 and 14-13, but took a 15-14 lead and then closed it out 17-15 on a Lexi Weber winner.

“I just tried to tell them to totally wipe the slate clean; that’s why you get five to finish,” Alexandria coach Whitney Welch said. “I thought we battled all year. This team never quit.”

Weber had 15 kills in the match. Setter Anna Johnson had 34 assists and eight digs, Jordan Beason had 13 kills and 11 digs and Sarah Pelham had 15 digs.

The Lady Cubs won the second set against West Point to tie that match, but dropped the next two sets.

“You’ve got to tip your hat to them,” Welch said. “They were able to take more swings than us and blocked better.”

Lexi Shadix had 23 kills and 24 digs for West Point, while Braelee Quinn totaling 24 kills and 11 digs. Weber led Alexandria with 14 kills and three blocks, while Johnson had 29 assists and seven digs.

West Point has never won a state volleyball championship, and will have to end the state’s greatest dynasty to do it. The Warriors play Bayside Academy, which will be making its 19th straight trip to the state finals.

(11-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-15, 17-15)
KILLS: Jordan Beason 13, Anna Johnson 4, Lexi Weber 15, TyShica Woodgett 4, Blakeley Mobbs 2, Kaylee Smith 1, Rylee Gattis 3.
ASSISTS: Anna Johnson 34, Sarah Pelham 1.
ACES: Jordan Beason 1, Anna Johnson 1, Lexi Weber 1, Blakeley Mobbs 2, Kaylee Smith 2.
DIGS: Jordan Beason 11, Anna Johnson 8, Sarah Pelham 15, TyShica Woodgett 2, Kandyn Blankenship 11, Blakeley Mobbs 6, Kaylee Smith 13, Rylee Gattis 1.
BLOCKS: Anna Johnson 1, Lexi Weber 3, Rylee Gattis 3.

(25-16, 22-25, 25-18, 25-19)
KILLS: Jordan Beason 11, Anna Johnson 3, Lexi Weber 14, Blakeley Mobbs 5, TyShica Woodgett 3, Rylee Gattis 3, Kaylee Smith 1.
ASSISTS: Anna Johnson 29.
DIGS: Jordan Beason 9, Anna Johnson 7, Sarah Pehlahm 15, Blakeley Mobbs 4, Kandyn Blankenship 9, Kaylee Smith 15.
BLOCKS: Jordan Beason 1, Anna Johnson 3, Lexi Weber 3, TyShica Woodgett 4, Rylee Gattis 3.

Class 2A

Addison will play for its 12th state title after sweeping Spring Garden in the semifinals, 25-17, 25-17, 25-19. Haleigh Molock led the Lady Panthers with nine kills. Suzie Carter had six kills and two blocks, Lexi Adkison had three kills and three blocks, and Abbey Steward had 23 assists.

Carter’s nine kills led Spring Garden in its 3-0 quarterfinal win over Ariton. Adkison had seven kills, while Molock and Neely Welsh had six each.

Birmingham CrossPlex
CLASS 1A (Tuesday)
Donoho 3, Millry 0 (25-12, 25-13, 25-11)
Pleasant Home 3, Meek 2 (20-25, 25-17, 27-29, 25-22, 15-10)
Bayshore Christian 3, Covenant Christian 0 (25-5, 25-16, 25-9)
Lindsay Lane Christian 3, Kinston 0 (25-23, 25-23, 25-15)
Donoho 3, Pleasant Home 0 (25-22, 25-17, 25-9)
Bayshore Christian 3, Lindsay Lane 0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-17)

CLASS 2A (Tuesday)
Addison 3, Horseshoe Bend 0 (25013, 25-16, 25-12)
Spring Garden 3, Ariton 0 (25-10, 25-22, 25-20)
G.W. Long 3, Hatton 2 (21-25, 25-16, 25-18, 20-25, 15-12)
Altamont 3, Orange Beach 0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-10)
Addison 3, Spring Garden 0 (25-17, 25-17, 25-19)
G.W. Long 3, Altamont 1 (25-20, 19-25, 28-26, 25, 25-23)

CLASS 3A (Wednesday, 10 a.m.)
South 4: Thomasville (21-8) vs. North 1: Plainview 
North 3: Fyffe (21-11) vs. South 2: Houston Academy (26-17)
North 4: Lauderdale County (28-17) vs. South 1: Trinity Presbyterian (14-8)
South 3: Prattville Christian (35-9) vs. North 2: Pleasant Valley (27-6)

CLASS 4A (Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.)
South 4: Northside (7-7) vs. North 1: Curry (54-10)
North 3: Jacksonville (39-8) vs. South 2: LAMP (22-11)
North 4: Westminster Christian (20-14) vs. South 1: Montgomery Academy (32-9)
South 3: St. Michael Catholic (18-18) vs. North 2: Madison County (26-12)

CLASS 5A (Tuesday)
West Point 3, Elberta 0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-16)
Alexandria 3, Satsuma 2 (11-25, 21-25, 25-20, 25-15, 17-15)
Bayside Academy 3, East Limestone 0 (25-14, 25-13, 25-11)
Providence Christian 3, Fairview 1 (14-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-23)
West Point 3, Alexandria 1 (25-16, 22-25, 25-18, 25-19)
Bayside Academy 3, Providence Christian 0

CLASS 6A (Tuesday)
Hazel Green 3, Northridge 0 (25-23, 25-16, 25-17)
Mountain Brook 3, John Carroll Catholic 2 (25-14, 25-16, 25-17)
Spanish Fort 3, Buckhorn 2 (25-15, 15-25, 25-21, 20-25, 16-14)
Hartselle 3, St. Paul’s Episcopal 0
Mountain Brook 3, Hazel Green 2 (23-25, 28-26, 26-24, 15-25, 15-9)
Hartselle 3, Spanish Fort 2 (25-23, 17-25, 25-23, 21-25, 15-9)

CLASS 7A (Wednesday, 2 p.m.)
South 4: Baker (21-15) vs. North 1: Hoover (49-1)
North 3: Thompson (15-8) vs. South 2: Prattville (27-8)
North 4: Vestavia Hills (16-24) vs. South 1: McGill-Toolen Catholic (40-8)
South 3: Auburn (11-14) vs. North 2: Spain Park (25-10)

Championship matches
Bill Harris Arena, Birmingham
Wednesday’s matches
2A Finals, noon: Addison (36-16) vs. G.W. Long (32-4)
6A Finals, 2 p.m.: Hartselle (54-11) vs. Mountain Brook (33-12)
1A Finals, 4 p.m.: Donoho (32-14) vs. Bayshore Christian (20-10)
5A Finals, 6 p.m.: West Point (50-15) vs. Bayside Academy (51-4)
Thursday’s matches
3A Finals, noon
4A Finals, 2 p.m.
7A Finals, 4 p.m.

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