E.A. Sports Today

Lions’ latest roar

Faith Christian sweeps through Class 1A, Area 8 tournament to reach 32 wins headed to regional, proves 2022 area title ‘no fluke.’

Led by MVP Ally Folsom (left) and all-tournament pick Kayson Cronan (right), Faith Christian’s volleyball team receives the Class 1A, Area 8 champion’s trophy from Faith athletics director Casey Farr on Thursday. (Photo by Joe Medley)

Class 1A, Area 8 tournament

At Faith Christian

ASD def. Talladega County Central 25-23, 22-25, 17-25, 25-16, 15-10.
Faith def. ASD 25-2, 25-8, 25-5.
Wadley def. Winterboro 17-25, 25-22, 18-25, 25-20, 15-7.
Faith def. Wadley 25-5, 25-13, 25-20.
All-tournament team
Ally Folsom, Faith Christian.
ASD: Tusi Silas.
Winterboro: Grace Moseley.
Wadley: Celest Angel, A’mya Brown.
Faith Christian: Kayson Cronan, Anna Kate Robertson, Cheyenne Rice.

The Class 1A, Area 8 all-tournament team (from left): Winterboro’s Grace Moseley, Wadley’s Celest Angel and A’mya Brown and Faith Christian’s Kayson Cronan, Anna Kate Robertson, Cheyenne Rice and Ally Folsom. Not pictured, ASD’s Tusi Silas. (Photo by Joe Medley)

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

It’s tempting to compare Faith Christian’s current volleyball team and the 2018 version that reached the Calhoun County final and state semifinals.

The Lions looked the part while cruising through Thursday’s Class 1A, Area 8 tournament at Faith.

While soaking in the Lions’ second area title in as many years, they lived in the present.

“This area championship is very important for them, because we wanted to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke,” second-year coach Avery Gowens said. “We’re here to stay. We’re Faith Christian. We have a name. We’re only going to keep going forward.”

Faith (32-21) will carry on to next week’s South Regional in Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl Multiplex. The Lions will play Area 6 runner up R.C. Hatch on Thursday at 10:15 a.m.

Faith beat Alabama School for the Deaf 25-2, 25-8, 25-5 in Thursday’s area semifinals then Wadley 25-5, 25-13, 25-20 in the final.

The Lions passed postseason go easily, but it gets harder from here.

They’ve done hard this season. They beat reigning a graduation-depleted version of Class 2A state champion Donoho, but Faith has a long history of struggling against the Falcons. They have 18 victories over higher classified public schools.

Can Faith get as far as the team considered widely considered the school’s best?

Does the trio of hitter Ally Folsom, setter Anna Kate Robertson and libero Kayson Cronan compare to Nicole Frechette, Erin Cheek and Abby Kazanjian.
It’s hard to say. Gowens, a Spring Garden graduate, was in college at the time and has only vague memories of the 2018 team. 

Folsom moved to Faith from Ranburne in 2020, but she’s heard the legends.

“I think everybody compares us to them,” she said. “I think we’ve kind of proved ourselves, because everybody was talking down. ‘Oh, it’s just Faith volleyball,’ but we’ve made a name for ourselves now.” 

Robertson, a senior, has attended Faith throughout her school years and remembers the Lions of five years ago.

“I think we can go father,” she said.

It sure looked that way during Thursday’s area tournament. The only anxious set was the third against Wadley, and Faith mixed in subs until Wadley tied it 19-19.

Gowens summoned his resting starters back out, and they finished the job,

Folsom, the tourney’s MVP, finished with six aces, 20 Kills,one assist and three digs against Wadley. The Lions’ three other all-tournament picks showed out, as well: 

— Robertson: two aces two kills, 48 assists, four digs.

— Cheyenne Rice: 23 aces, nine kills, one assist, two digs.

— Cronan: 12 aces, six digs.

“We’ve worked really hard to get this,” Folsom said. “We’ve practiced a lot. We kept our energy up and came out on top.” 

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