E.A. Sports Today

Prep volleyball

Class 5A third-ranked Alexandria sweeps quad at Sylacauga to improve to 14-0. Ohatchee improves to 11-5, and Wellborn ups to 8-3. Jacksonville victorious

Cover photo:Alexandria’s volleyball team is off to a 14-0 start this season, having lost only two sets. The Valley Cubs are ranked No. 3 in Class 5A. (Submitted photo)

By East Alabama Sports Today

SYLACAUGA — The scary thing about Alexandria’s undefeated start to the season is, the Valley Cubs are only now getting to full strength.

Alexandria, third in the latest AL.com state volleyball rankings, swept a quad match at Sylacauga on Thursday, beating Class 6A Pike Road 25-18, 25-16, 6A Oxford 25-20, 25-15 and 5A Sylacauga 25-17, 25-17 to improve to 14-0 on the season.

The three matches Alexandria played Thursday make it four for middle hitter Cassidy Hartsfield, who played her first match of the season Tuesday after sitting out the first 10 for disciplinary reasons.

The 14-0 is the best of 10th-year Valley Cubs’ coach Whitney Welch’s tenure, she said. That includes the 2017 state-championship season.

Alexandria has climbed four spots in the state rankings since preseason and lost only two sets, one to Oxford and one to Fort Payne.

It’s a strong start for a team led by a five-member senior class that includes reigning Class 4A-6A All-Calhoun County player of the year Kailey Dickerson and all-county libero Devan White, defensive MVP of last year’s county tournament.

“I’m really excited,” Welch said. 

The Calhoun County tournament seeding meeting is Sept. 13 at White Plains High School, and the Valley Cubs look to be a slam-dunk top seed. They’ve won the past two county tournaments.

The county tournament amounts to another chance to improve, Welch said. Eyes stay trained on the prize, which will be getting through a regional that’s arguably stronger than the Class 5A Elite Eight will be.

The North Regional will include top-ranked Jasper, No. 2 Arab, No. 5 Guntersville, No. 7 Southside, No. 8 Madison Academy and No. 9 Lawrence County.

“It’s not how you start. It’s how you finish,” Welch said. “I think our girls, the past two years, have not finished like they wanted to. I think they are really set out to finish well this year.

“You can kind of tell in their play. We’re facing adversity like we always have, but they’re learning how to get through that together, and they’ve learned how to be really good communicators. Everybody is part, and everybody is doing their job, and so everybody’s contributing. I just really like the way they’ve approached the season so far.”

Alexandria’s top performers Thursday.

—Dickerson: 26 kills, 21 digs, four aces, one block.
—Eryn Spradley: 33 kills, four blocks, three digs, two aces, one block.
—Hartsfield: seven kills, four digs, five blocks, one ace.
—White: two kills, five assists, 34 digs, two aces.
—Ava Johnson: one kill, 15 digs.
—Charlee Parris: one assist, 10 digs.
—Christian Hess: 24 assists, 11 digs, three aces.
—Sophie Martin: one kill, 34 assists, five digs.

OXFORD’S DAY: Also at Sylacauga, Oxford lost to Sylacauga 26-28, 25-23, 8-15, Alexandria 20-25, 15-25 and Pike Road 19-25, 29-27, 13-15. Top performers for the Yellow Jackets:

—Payton Brooks: 60 assists, three aces.
—Jamea Gaston: 26 digs
—Arilyn Pool: 17 digs.
—Ava Thomas: 17 kills, six blocks.
—Mileah Prince: 22 kills, five blocks.
—Jaslyn Montgomery: seven blocks, 13 kills, two aces.

OHATCHEE WINS: Ohatchee beat Piedmont in area play, 25-17, 25-20, 25-11. The Indians improved to 11-5 in the first season after UAB signee and 2022 Class 1A-3A All-Calhoun County player of the year Jorda Crook graduated. Top Performers:


—Rebecca Henderson: 11 kills, 11 digs, six aces.
—Alanah Fitch: four kills, 21 assists, four aces, seven digs.
—Ayla Crook: four kills, four digs.
—Brett Finn: four kills.
—Mackenzie Luna: four kills.
—Elli Carden: 13 digs.


Jaycee Glover: eight assists, six digs, one ace.
—Carson Young: four kills, three digs.
—Amiyah Thomas: two kills, three digs.
—Melanie Studdard: one kills, two digs.
—Cayla Brothers: two kills, three digs.
—Cacey Brothers: three kills, three assists, five digs.

WELLBORN WINS: The Panthers beat Weaver 25-21, 23-25, 15-9 and White Plains 25-18, 25-8 to improve to 8-3 on the season. Top performers for Wellborn:

—Anna Odom: one ace, 11 kills, one dig.
—Annalee Rinehard: two kills, 26 assists.
—Bentley Bean: 11 kills.
—Calla Hayes: two aces, 18 kills, two assists, seven digs.
—Destiny Benefield: three aces, three digs.
—Diana Rodriguez: 29 digs.
—Gracie Lewis: four aces, four kills, 61 assists, two digs.

JACKSONVILLE WINS: The Golden Eagles swept Cleburne County, 25-16, 25-10, 25-6. Top performers for Jacksonville:

—Sydney Soriano: 12 aces, five kills, 17 assists, two blocks, three digs.
—Camryn Stone: five aces, one kill, one block, one dig.
—Mya Swain: 11 aces, eight kills, one block, two digs.
—Nyla Hoult: five aces, eight kills.
—KeAsiah Williams: five kills, five blocks.
—Alexis Phillips: five aces, four kills, one block, one dig.
—Jehenna Engram: two aces, three digs.
—Karli Barnwell: six aces, two digs.

DONOHO SPLITS: At Spring Garden, beat Coosa Christian 25-5, 25-13 and lost to Spring Garden 13-25, 15-25. Top performers for Donoho:

—Estella Connell: nine kills, eight aces, three blocks.
—Sam Wakefield: seven kills, three aces, 12 digs.
—Ryals Jones: eight kills, one block.
—Callie Taylor: one kill, 24 assists, one ace.
—Kate Williamon: three kills, two aces.

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