Cal­houn out­lasts ri­val Lady Phoenix in com­pet­i­tive con­test

Calhoun Times - - SPORTS SATURDAY - By Alex Far­rer

Cal­houn and Sono­rav­ille met on the court for the sec­ond time this sea­son in a hard-fought, com­pet­i­tive match that took three sets to de­cide. And judg­ing by the level of play of both teams, it prob­a­bly will not be the last time they see each other this sea­son. The next time could be in the semi­fi­nals or fi­nals of the area tour­na­ment.

The ri­vals capped off a tri-match on Tues­day with the fi­nal match of the night, and they de­liv­ered a back-and-forth con­test that fin­ished up with the Lady Jack­ets win­ning the third set to take the match and fin­ish off a reg­u­lar-sea­son sweep of Sono­rav­ille. Cal­houn (25-12, 6-1 in Area 1-AAA) gained the up­per hand with a 25-20 ad­van­tage in the first set, but Sono­rav­ille bounced right back to dom­i­nate the sec­ond set for a 25-16 win. The de­ci­sive third set was forced, and each team made runs at each other be­fore the Lady Jack­ets held off their ri­val for a 25-19 match-clinch­ing set vic­tory.

Cal­houn coach Randy Rice said the vic­tory was a lot like many they have had through­out the sea­son and Sono­rav­ille had a lot to do with that.

“That’s pretty much been the script for us all sea­son...We’ll play well in one set and then we’ll get a lit­tle too con­fi­dent or cocky and lose the next set,” said Rice. “But I’ve said it many times this year, we’re still learn­ing how to win. Some­times we get a lit­tle cocky and have to lose a set to get re­fo­cused. But you have to credit Sono­rav­ille too. They have some great play­ers and are well­coached. We won both matches against them in the reg­u­lar sea­son, but we haven’t proven any­thing yet. They are still the cham­pion so we’ve got to beat them in the tour­na­ment to change that. I’ve told my girls it’s hard to beat a team twice, and it’s even harder to beat a team three times. We’ve just got to fo­cus and get ready for next week. We’ll get a chance to rest a lit­tle and then get ready to go for the area tour­na­ment.”

The Lady Jack­ets opened the tri-match with a sim­i­lar win over Ring­gold as they won the first set 26-24, dropped the sec­ond set to the Lady Tigers 25-17 and then re­bounded to clinch the match with a 25-21 ad­van­tage in the third set.

So­phie Ste­wart had 18 kills to lead the stats for Cal­houn on the night to go along with her two digs and two aces. Ash­lyn Br­zo­zoski added 18 digs and two aces, Anna Ge­orge had 11 kills, seven blocks and three digs, Emma Kate Smith con­trib­uted 11 digs, six kills, six aces and two blocks and Jenna San­tori chipped in 10 digs and a kill. Also con­tribut­ing to the stats were: Erin Davis with eight digs, five kills and two aces, Erin Kelly with seven aces, five blocks, three kills and two digs, Rai­ley Gree­son with eight digs and one ace, Ash­ton Ens­ley with six digs, Anna Hoblitzell with two digs and one kill and Cal­lie Led­ford with two aces and one dig.

Sono­rav­ille ( 1421, 4-4) played their first match of the night against Ring­gold as well and earned a win in two sets (25-19, 25-18). Kin­sey Wil­son had a big night at libero with a com­bined 19 digs, 11 kills and four aces to lead the way in the two matches. Alea John­son added 28 as­sists and four digs, and Sky­lar Huskins had eight kills, six digs and five aces.

Also con­tribut­ing to Sono­rav­ille’s split for the night were: Anissa Hales with eight digs and two kills, Han­nah We­hunt with five digs, two kills and a per­fect 15-for15 serv­ing ef­fort, Bree Steely with five digs, three kills and three aces, Alexis Lin­coln with four kills and three digs, Abby Cham­bers with three digs and two kills and Raleigh Hooper with three kills.

Sono­rav­ille coach Trace Vaughn said his team con­tin­ued to show their im­prove­ment over the past few weeks with a great match against Ring­gold but seemed to slip into bad habits against Cal­houn early in the fi­nal match.

“We’ve been fo­cus­ing on serve and serve re­ceive, and we re­ally ex­e­cuted that against Ring­gold,” said Vaughn. “We didn’t do a very good job of that against Cal­houn. About 80 per­cent of our passes in the first set against Cal­houn were too close to the net as well, and it’s hard to put the three phases to­gether when you do that.

“I’m not sure what hap­pened there, but we started to play a lit­tle tight again for some rea­son. We have got­ten away from that a lit­tle the last cou­ple weeks, but in one set, we got tight again and it def­i­nitely af­fected our play. We’re so young still, and there are a lot of nerves. We’ve just got to get more ex­pe­ri­ence in those big matches and learn how to han­dle it bet­ter.”

Both teams have their eyes set on play­ing well in the Area 1-AAA Tour­na­ment, which is next Thurs­day and Satur­day at Cal­houn. The Lady Phoenix are look­ing to keep their streak of five straight area ti­tles go­ing. Vaughn said he thinks his team is go­ing in the right di­rec­tion.

“You al­ways want to peak at the right time, but I guess in­con­sis­tency is our big­gest fear,” said Vaughn. “We need to find a way to play our best in ev­ery sin­gle set if we want to be in it. I feel like we’re start­ing to play our best ball of the sea­son lately so hope­fully that will con­tinue into the tour­na­ment.”

Rice said he be­lieves some lessons learned last week in losses to Cartersville and North­west Whit­field will bring his team back down to Earth a lit­tle and re­fo­cus them for the tour­na­ment.

“We got hum­bled last week, but if you’re ever go­ing to be the best, you have to play the best,” said Rice. “We were ahead for much of the match against Cartersville, but we couldn’t fin­ish it out. I’ve told the girls that we are a good team. We’ve just got to be­lieve it and play to our po­ten­tial. When we hit the ball and knock peo­ple off the net, we’re as good as any­one around. We know our serv­ing will be there.”

The Lady Jack­ets also hon­ored their lone se­nior on Tues­day as Davis was rec­og­nized dur­ing Se­nior Night fes­tiv­i­ties. Rice said it was spe­cial to get two wins for her on Se­nior Night be­cause she has been a part of the pro­gram for a long time, even be­fore she got to high school when she would come to prac­tices with her cousin.

Sono­rav­ille was on the road on Thurs­day at Model for a tri-match against the Lady Devils and Ring­gold. ( For de­tails on that match, see Wed­nes­day’s Cal­houn Times.) They will visit Cartersville on Mon­day for a tri-match along with Mur­ray County. Cal- houn and Sono­rav­ille will both open area tour­na­ment play on Thurs­day with the bracket yet to be fi­nal­ized.

In other re­cent vol­ley­ball ac­tion:

Cal­houn splits tri-match

The Lady Jack­ets vis­ited Wood­land on Wed­nes­day for a tri­match against the Lady Wild­cats and Har­al­son County and came away with a 1-1 night.

Cal­houn (25-12, 6-2 Area 1-AAA) de­feated Wood­land in two sets but fell to Har­al­son County for an area loss in three sets. Anna Ge­orge led the way with 15 kills, two blocks and one ace for the night, and Emma Kate Smith added seven digs, six aces, four kills and one block. Also con­tribut­ing were Ash­lyn Br­zo­zoski with five digs and one ace, Jenna San­tori with five digs, Cal­lie Led­ford with four kills, one dig and one ace, Ash­ton Ens­ley with four digs, Erin Kelly with three aces and two kills, Rai­ley Gree­son with three digs, Erin Davis with one dig, one ace and one kill, Anna Hoblitzell with one kills and So­phie Ste­wart with one ace.

The matches wrap up the reg­u­lar sea­son for Cal­houn as they will now have a lit­tle more than a week off be­fore the Area 1-AAA Tour­na­ment opens on Thurs­day at in their own gym.

TIM GODBEE / For the Cal­houn Times

Cal­houn’s Anna Hoblitzell (2) sets a pass for team­mate Emma Kate Smith as Sono­rav­ille play­ers get in po­si­tion on the other side of the net.

TIM GODBEE / For the Cal­houn Times

Cal­houn’s Anna Ge­orge (left) goes up to at­tempt a block as Sono­rav­ille’s Abby Cham­bers looks for a kill.

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