E.A. Sports Today

Finding the best shot

Donoho changes approach after first set of championship match, rallies to beat Spring Garden for Donoho Classic crown

Bracket Round
Faith Christian def. Donoho JV, 25-16, 25-14
Westminster-Oak Mountain def. Fayetteville, 26-24, 26-24
White Plains def. Holy Spirit, 25-10, 25-20
Weaver def. Cedar Bluff, 25-10, 25-15
Donoho def. Faith Christian 25-4, 25-9
Westminster-Oak Mountain def. Munford 25-20, 25-22
White Plains def. Ragland, 25-20, 25-8
Spring Garden def. Weaver, 25-22, 25-11
Donoho def. Westminster-Oak Mountain, 25-20, 25-17
Spring Garden def. White Plains, 25-11, 25-15
Donoho def. Spring Garden, 25-27, 25-14, 15-10

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Jamie Clendenin’s message to his Donoho volleyball team after Spring Garden seemingly adjusted to every move the Lady Falcons made in the first set of their championship match Saturday was just hit them with your best shot, even if that best shot is not your best shot.

The hit-em-where-they-ain’t approach worked to perfection for the Lady Falcons. They bounced back from that first set setback to beat the Lady Panthers 25-27, 25-14, 15-10 and win their own Donoho Classic for the third year in a row.

The Lady Falcons (31-3) went 6-0 in their own tournament, beating Westminster-Oak Mountain and Spring Garden twice, Holy Spirit and Faith Christian, losing only one set – that opening set of the championship match – along the way.

The first set of the championship match was intense. Spring Garden jumped out front 8-2, but Donoho rallied to take its first lead of the match 16-15. The set was eight times the rest of the way, with Donoho taking a 24-23 lead on a double hit on the ninth volley and Spring Garden tying it at 24 on the 12thvolley of the point.

“They made great adjustments that first set,” Clendenin said. “They figured out where our hitters’ best spots were and they were standing there. I told them you have to keep swinging and try to move around some. If you have three of your best shots and they’re covering all three shots, you’ve got to find another shot. Even if it’s not your best shot, you’ve got to move them.”

“Some of our best shots weren’t necessarily the hardest shots,” senior Maggie Wakefield said. “Some of our best shots are the short shots or the tipped shot. I definitely agree the best shot has many different definitions in that sense.”

The second set was tied 8-8 before the Lady Falcons steadily pulled away. They stretched it out to 20-13, lost the serve, then closed it out with the last five points of the set.

They never trailed in the third set after opening with a 4-0 run with Wakefield, Lily Grace Draper and Mercy Mangum each scoring a kill. Spring Garden got as close as 7-5, then Donoho pulled away with with five straight points, with Wakefield killing the first three.

“They’re just better, they’re just more efficient than we are,” Spring Garden coach Ricky Austin said. “In this game, numbers, efficiency, just cleaner (is key). Good team; we’re trying to catch up. They play a lot of club ball and we don’t, and we try to catch up and close that gap once the season starts by playing good teams like this.

“Some phases of it we were efficient, but when it’s time to seal the deal – and we’ve got to learn to do that – we’ve got to be better. Our window’s still open. For anything special, we’ve got to be more efficient.”

Wakefield had 14 kills, Lily Grace Draper 11 and Mary Marshall Perry 10 for Donoho in the championship match. Sam Wakefield had 34 assists and 11 digs, and Naira Rehman had 18 digs.

The Lady Falcons spread the wealth in the tournament. Draper had 47 kills, Maggie Wakefield had 33 and Mercy Mangum had 27. Sam Wakefield had 113 assists and 46 digs, and Rehman 58 digs. You can see the entire statistical breakdown below.

“Mary Marshall had her best match in the finals,” Clenendin said. “I think her hitting in the second set is what really got our momentum going. She struggled a lot this morning, but when it came to that second set she got on strong and it was just automatic. When she was swinging, I almost felt like we were going to get a point every time she swung.

“And Naira had some real good leadership when we lost that first set. She came over and said, guys, we’ve got to just play our game.”

Donoho Classic

Championship Match
(25-27, 25-14, 15-10)
KILLS – Donoho: Lily Grace Draper 11, Maggie Wakefield 14, Mercy Mangum 2, Mary Marshall Perry 10, Estella Connell 4, Sam Wakefield 1. Spring Garden: Neely Welsh 5, Abbey Steward 2, Suzie Carter 4, Allie Jennings 5.
ASSISTS – Donoho: Maggie Wakefield 1, Sam Wakefield 34, Naira Rehman 2.
ACES – Donoho: Lily Grace Draper 2, Sam Wakefield 1, Naira Rehman 1. Spring Garden: Neely Welsh 1, Abbie Woods 2.
DIGS – Donoho: Lily Grace Draper 8, Maggie Wakefield 9, Mercy Mangum 1, Estella Connell 2, Sam Wakefield 11, Naira Rehman 18, Ayesha Siddiqua 2, Hannah Sprayberry 3.
BLOCKS – Donoho: Mercy Mangum 1, Mary Marshall Perry 1, Estella Connell 1. Spring Garden: Neely Welsh 4, Suzie Carter 4, Aubrey Sadler 4.

DONOHO (6-0)

(Def. Holy Spirit, Faith Christian, Westminster-Oak Mountain twice, Spring Garden twice)
KILLS – Lily Grace Draper 47, Maggie Wakefield 33, Mercy Mangum 27, Mary Marshall Perry 20, Estella Connell 19, Ansley Simmons 2, Sam Wakefield 5.
ASSISTS – Maggie Wakefield 2, Mercy Mangum 3, Sam Wakefield 113, Naira Rehman 11, Ayesha Siddiqua 13.
ACES – Lily Grace Draper 6, Maggie Wakefield 4, Mercy Mangum 3, Mary Marshall 2, Sam Wakefield 12, Naira Rehman 2, Ayesha Siddiqua 10, Hannah Sprayberry 10.
DIGS – Lily Grace Draper 28, Maggie Wakefield 34, Mercy Mangum 11, Mary Marshall Perry 1, Estella Connell 6, Ansley Simmons 1, Sam Wakefield 46, Naira Rehman 58, Ayesha Siddiqua 9, Hannah Sprayberry 14, Anastasia Budrevich 1.
BLOCKS – Lily Grace Draper 2, Maggie Wakefield 4, Mercy Mangum 4, Mary Marshall Perry 9, Estella Connell 6, Ansley Simmons 7.

(Def. Faith Christian, Cedar Bluff and White Plains; lost to Westminster-Oak Mountain)
KILLS – Kaylyn Turner 22, Ellie Rose Jones 17, Kelsey Goodson 4, Kyleigh Hurst 3, Layla Tyus 2, Anijah Gladden 13, Kambrya Meadows 4. 
ASSISTS – Kaylyn Turner 1, Kyleigh Hurst 31, Kirsten Rogers 1, Mekiah Mosley 1, Anijah Gladden 3.
ACES – Ellie Rose Jones 5, Kelsey Goodson 2, Kyleigh Hurst 6, Kirsten Rogers 1, Mekiah Mosley 2, Anijah Gladden 4.
DIGS – Kaylyn Turner 2, Ellie Rose Jones 14, Kelsey Goodson 19, Kyleigh Hurst 21, Kirsten Rogers 23, Mekiah Mosley 28, Kambrya Meadows 21.
BLOCKS – Kaylyn Turner 9, Ellie Rose Jones 1, Layla Tyus 3, Kambrya Meadows 1.

(Def. Cedar Bluff, Ragland, Holy Spirit, Faith Christian; lost to Faith Christian, Spring Garden)
KILLS – Braeton Moran 3, Cooper Martin 1, Leighton Arnold 19, Macy Scism 10, Taylor Hodge 9, Kassidy Ledbetter 28, Courtnee Masson 1, Isabella Higgins 15.
ACES – Braeton Moran 4, Cooper Martin 2, Leighton Arnold 1, Macy Scism 1, Taylor Hodge 2, Kassidy Ledbetter 8, Courtnee Masson 3.
DIGS – Braeton Moran 24, Cooper Martin 10, Leighton Arnold 11, Halie Smith 4, Mallory Cobb 29, Macy Scism 9, Taylor Hodge 13, Kassidy Ledbetter 47, Courtnee Masson 54, Isabella Higgins 7, Jaylee Crow 20, Molly Barnett 1.
BLOCKS – Leighton Arnold 1, Macy Scism 1, Taylor Hodge 6, Kassidy Ledbetter 1, Isabella Higgins 7.

Hewitt-Trussville Husky Challenge

TRUSSVILLE –– Oxford played its best tournament of the year and left the facility with a .500 record for the first time this season after going 4-1 and losing the in Gold Bracket semifinals to host Hewitt-Trussville 23-25, 25-23, 15-13.

The Lady Jackets (13-12) were leading 11-8 in the third set, but the Huskies rallied behind some ill-timed Oxford hitting errors.

Before the loss, Oxford defeated Mortimer Jordan (25-22, 25-17), Carver Montgomery (25-10, 25-12), Altamont (25-17, 25-16) and Carver again (25-9, 25-7).

Pleasant Valley went 2-2 and lost to Springville 25-18, 25-17 in the first round of the Gold Bracket. In pool play the Lady Raiders (11-11) defeated Gardendale (25-16, 25-20) and Helena (25-21, 23-25, 15-9) and lost to Southside (25-23, 25-16).

(Five-match totals)
KILLS –  Kara King 26, Abbie Mitchell 48, Mileah Prince 14, Shay Montgomery 14.
ASSISTS – Adrionna Foster 94.
DIGS – Kara King 5, Ashlyn Burns 20, Cohlee Boone 17, Adrionna Foster 23, Ashely Paulson 29, Abbie Mitchell 12.

(Four-match totals)
KILLS – Lily Henry 18, Rylee Haynes 32, Allie Bryant 23, Maddie Schwabe 9, Tori Turner 1, Baylee Willis 1, Madi Hay 1.
ASSISTS – Rylee Haynes 26, Allie Bryant 30, Maddie Schwabe 2, Baylee Willis 1, Rebekah Gannaway 1
ACES – Lily Henry 3, Rylee Haynes 3, Allie Bryant 4, Maddie Schwabe 3, Rebekah Gannaway 1.
DIGS – Lily Henry 24, Rylee Haynes 13, Allie Bryant 24, Maddie Schwabe 33, Tori Turner 3, Baylee Willis 6, Madi Hay 6, Rebekah Gannaway 37, Gracie Davis 3.
BLOCKS – Lily Henry 4, Rylee Haynes 5, Allie Bryant 2, Maddie Schwabe 1, Baylee Willis 10.

Brooks Invitational

Alexandria (19-8) went 4-2 in the Brooks Invitational with wins over Lindsay Lane (2-0), Florence (2-0) and West Point twice (2-1, 2-0), and losses to Central Florence (2-0) and Deshler (2-1).

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