E.A. Sports Today

Statement game

Donoho rallies to beat Alexandria in three sets in matchup of Calhoun County Tournament top seeds

Donoho, Gadsden City at Alexandria
Donoho 2, Gadsden City 0 (25-5, 25-12)
Alexandria 2, Gadsden City 0 (25-12, 25-18)
Donoho 2, Alexandria 1 (16-25, 25-17, 18-16)

Ohatchee, Oxford at Pell City
Pell City 2, Oxford 1 (11-25, 27-25, 15-3)
Oxford 2, Ohatchee 1 (23-25, 26-24, 15-10)

Cedar Bluff 3, Faith Christian 2
Munford 3, Weaver 1 (25-10, 20-25, 25-14, 25-19)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The Donoho volleyball team knew they had a chance to make a statement for the upcoming Calhoun County Tournament, but no matter the stakes the Lady Falcons wanted to make sure to thine own self they stayed true.

The Lady Falcons came from behind Monday night to top Alexandria two sets to one in a potential preview of the county finals. Alexandria was installed as the No. 1 seed in the tournament, which the Lady Falcons accepted under the circumstances.

But they handed the Lady Cubs their first in-county loss of the season in their own gym by sticking to their own principles rather than getting caught up playing Alexandria’s game. They lost the first set 25-16, but dominated the second 25-17 and won the tiebreaker 18-16.

“That definitely has given us a lot of confidence for the county tournament,” Lady Falcons’ hitter Lily Grace Draper said. “We wanted that No. 1 seed coming in and this proves we can compete with the No. 1 seed. I was really proud of how we fought back. Everyone was fighting together and getting excited.”

The match had all the intensity of a county final. There were big kills from both sides, big blocks at the net and players diving all over the floor to keep balls alive.

It got really intense in the tiebreaker. Donoho looked like it was going to win the tiebreaker easily, scoring scored the first seven points. But the Lady Falcons knew Alexandria wouldn’t go down without a fight and they didn’t. The Lady Cubs got back in it with the next six points and it stayed a dogfight to the end.

The Lady Falcons pulled ahead 10-6, but the Lady Cubs cut it back to 10-9. It was 13-10 and the Lady Cubs rallied again..Kailey Dickerson tied the match at 13 with a big kill into the deep left corner and put the Lady Cubs on the verge of winning with another kill.

The Lady Cubs served match point twice, but Donoho fought them both off and eventually won it breaking a 16-16 tie with the go-ahead kill by Draper and Sam Wakefield’s clinching point down the line.

“They had some swings I was just like that’s a great swing, there’s nothing we can do about that,” Wakefield said. “A lot of girls will sit there and say hey where do I need to be and there’s nowhere you need to be, you just have to stay true to what we are. We did a great job today playing our game and not getting involved in their game. 

“A lot of times we play in these big tournaments and we’re like trying to copy (the opponent), but we have to be true to ourselves, play to our strengths and we really did that today. We really played as a team tonight. I haven’t seen that many girls dive for each other in a while.”

Draper led Donoho with seven kills,. Sarah Waggoner had 15 digs and Sam Wakefield had 18 assists. The Lady Falcons recorded 40 kills as a team.

Dickerson had 21 kills for Alexandria. Eryn Spradley had eight kills, Christian Hess had 20 assists and Ava Johnson kept several points alive with nine digs. 

“Today we really worked hard to find our identity against some tough competition,” Donoho coach Anna Taylor said. “We had to figure out how to react. We reacted. We stayed calm when we needed to stay calm, we played up when we needed to play up, and I think that was a really important thing for us right now at this point in the season.”

For the Lady Cubs it was a tough start to an important week. On Tuesday they play No. 3 county seed Ohatchee, another potential title match opponent, for the first time this season, but before that match they play Southside in a best-of-5 they have to win if they want to host the area tournament.

“I was proud of them for fighting back in the third set but we never should have been in that situation,” Lady Cubs acting coach Kelli Johnson said. “We made hitting errors at the beginning of that third set and never could get our energy level back up. We tend to make a couple of errors and let them pile up. We’ve done that some this season and we did that in that set, too. We just weren’t able to finish it. I would prefer that we finish it in set two and not get ourselves into a set three.

“Our fight this week is mental, pressing on. We’ve played a lot of matches in a short period of time. We know we can do it skill-wise, but can we overcome obstacles mentally to make it happen, to get the win. They’ve got to flush this (result) because tomorrow is more important. It has to be done tonight so we can pick back up tomorrow.”

Both teams swept Gadsden City before their showdown.

Donoho 2, Alexandria 1

KILLS – Donoho: Lily Grace Draper 7, Ansley Simmons 3, Estella Connell 3, Ryals Jones 1, Mary Marshall Perry 4, Sam Wakefield 3. Alexandria: Kailey Dickerson 21, Brie Troup 3, Eryn Spradley 8, Lauren Weber 1, Cassidy Hartsfield 2.

ASSISTS – Donoho: Sam Wakefield 18. Alexandria: Christian Hess 20, Pressley Slaton 6, Devan White 3.

ACES – Donoho: Lily Grace Draper 2, Sam Wakefield 2. Alexandria: Kailey Dickerson 1, Christian Hess 1, Devan White 1, Brenlee Sparks 1.

DIGS – Donoho: Lily Grace Draper 7, Ansley Simmons 3, Mary Marshall Perry 1, Sam Wakefield 4, Sarah Waggoner 15, Hannah Sprayberry 5, Kate Williamon 5. Alexandria: Brie Troup 1, Christian Hess 9, Pressley Slaton 2, Devan White 5, Ava Johnson 9, Brenlee Sparks 6, Lauren Weber 2, Cassidy Hartsfield 1.

BLOCKS – Donoho: Lily Grace Draper 1, Estella Connell 1, Ryals Jones 3, Mary Marshall Perry 2, Sam Wakefield 1. Alexandria: Kailey Dickerson 1, Cassidy Hartsfield 2.

DONOHO (25-7) (2 match totals)KILASTACEDIGBLK
Lily Grace Draper162121
Ansley Simmons33
Estella Connell62
Ryals Jones53
Mary Marshall Perry7312
Sam Wakefield436262
Sarah Waggoner15
Hannah Sprayberry38
Kate Williamon 5
ALEXANDRIA (31-10) (2 match totals)KILASTACEDIGBLK
Kailey Dickerson251241
Brie Troup52
Eryn Spradley 10
Christian Hess24111
Pressley Slaton113
Devan White516
Ava Johnson 1211
Kirsten Heathcock1
Brenlee Sparks 27
Lauren Weber12
Madison Foster21
Cassidy Hartsfield413

Oxford splits pair of three-setters

PELL CITY – Oxford split a pair of three-set matches, but its victory turned the county tournament seedings on its ear. The Lady Jackets lost to Pell City 2-1 after winning the first set, but beat Ohatchee 2-1 after losing the first set.

The Lady Jackets (15-15) are seeded eighth in next month’s county tournament. Ohatchee is seeded third. All three sets were tight with Ohatchee winning the first 25-23, but Oxford rallying to win the next two 26-24, 15-10.

Abbie Mitchell had 17 kills in the two matches, Jamea Gaston had 18 digs and Payton Brooks had 32 assists.

OXFORD (15-15) (2 match totals)KILASTACEDIGBLK
Jamea Gaston18
Payton Brooks3215
Ashlyn Burns11
Abbie Mitchell1741
Kaelyn Crossley312
Sadie Grace Morrison22
Daelyn Bozeman102
Mileah Prince 72
Jaslyn Montgomery102

Lady Lions get payback

WEAVER – Munford got two ailing starters back and a little bit of payback for a loss in last weekend’s Wellborn Slamfest in its 3-1 victory over Weaver. The Lady Lions roared back after splitting the first two sets to take sweep the next two 25-14, 25-19 and avoid the tiebreaker.

Ellie Jones returned from illness that kept her out of last weekend’s tournament and despite still feeling some affects led the Lady Lions offensively with 15 kills and an ace. Kaylyn Turner had 10 kills and two blocks, Anijah Gladden had six kills and four aces, and Kyleigh Hurst had 23 assists.

Two other injured starters, Blair Darby and Mylie Stephens, are expected to return by this weekend’s Talladega County Tournament.

Kyleigh Hurst22323
Anijah Gladden6481
Ashtyn Bishop2113
Ellie Jones1511
Kaylyn Turner102
Taite Brasher21
Alys Mosley224
Teriaunna Davis1
Aubrey Latham3

You must be logged in to post a comment Login