Nor­ris sets dig record, but Sand Rock falls to Ider

Cherokee County Herald - - SPORTS - From staff re­ports

HUNTSVILLE – Sand Rock’s Paige Nor­ris set a school record for digs in a vol­ley­ball sea­son, but her ef­fort wasn’t enough for the Lady Wild­cats in their sea­son-end­ing loss to Ider in the Class 2A North Re­gional in Huntsville on Fri­day. Sand Rock lost in four games 25-23, 22-25, 15-25 and 21-25 to fin­ish the sea­son at 36-9.

Nor­ris posted 37 digs in the loss and fin­ished with 653 digs this sea­son, sur­pass­ing the old mark of 619 digs by Lau­ren Bell. Sa­van­nah Black­well con­trib­uted 28 digs, 19 kills and two aces. Au­gust Gilliland added 18 digs and 15 kills. Erin Lan­g­ley man­aged 26 as­sists and 13 digs. Haylie Pruitt had 20 digs, 12 kills and three blocks. Au­drey Richard­son fin­ished with 17 as­sists and 14 digs.

“I am dis­ap­pointed with how we fin­ished. We could have and should have gone fur­ther,” Sand Rock coach Lisa Bates said. “We played pas­sively and did not men­tally push through to­day when the pres­sure was on. I am sad for Au­drey (Sand Rock’s only se­nior) be­cause she played hard and re­ally wanted to go fur­ther.”

In other area Class 2A North Re­gional ac­tion on Fri­day, Collinsville fell to Fyffe in three games. The scores were 25-22, 25-11 and 25-20.

Spring Gar­den, Cedar Bluff fall short

HUNTSVILLE – Spring Gar­den vol­ley­ball coach Ben Car­roll has seen his young Lady Pan­ther team take strides the past cou­ple of weeks.

On Oct. 17, they played a knock­down, drag out of a match for the Class 1A, Area 14 tour­na­ment cham­pi­onship at Cedar Bluff, win­ning in five sets to clinch their fourth straight area cham­pi­onship. The win – Spring Gar­den’s eighth in the past two weeks – se­cured a spot in the North Re­gional in Huntsville at the Von Braun Cen­ter against Sa­cred Heart on Thurs­day morn­ing.

Just like their area cham­pi­onship match, the Lady Pan­thers found them­selves in an­other close bat­tle with Sa­cred Heart on Thurs­day. They lost the first game 25-12, then ral­lied for a 26-24 vic­tory in game two. Sa­cred Heart came back with a 25-20 win in the third game, but Spring Gar­den cap­tured a 25-15 win in game four to force a fifth and de­cid­ing game.

The Lady Pan­thers built a 10-3 lead in the fifth game, but Sa­cred Heart ral­lied for a 16-14 win to ad­vance, end­ing Spring Gar­den’s sea­son at 14-35.

“It was sim­i­lar to the match we had against Cedar Bluff on Mon­day,” Spring Gar­den coach Ben Car­roll said. “We knew it was go­ing to be a bat­tle against Sa­cred Heart. We knew it was go­ing to be tough, but we just couldn’t fin­ish. Rachel (Mor­ris) had ro­tated to the back row, and we could never get her back up to the front.”

As Car­roll men­tioned, Mor­ris was the Lady Pan­thers’ go-to player on Thurs­day. She fin­ished with 30 kills, 15 digs and three blocks.

AJ Broome added 19 digs, 17 as­sists and three kills. Haleigh Molock man­aged 24 digs and a pair of aces. Kristin Tierce tal­lied 18 as­sists and 13 digs. Macy Reedy had 14 digs. Ken­ley Gowens con­trib­uted nine digs and two aces. Brea Bai­ley fin­ished with seven digs and three kills.

“We had been play­ing our best vol­ley­ball all year at the end. What hap­pens from here is how they re­act,” Car­roll said. “We had a lot of young ones this year. Rachel and AJ were the only ones with ex­pe­ri­ence on this stage. I’m proud of them. We won eight matches in the last two weeks, and we kind of got bet­ter. They fin­ished well. They grew and ma­tured, and as a coach, that’s all you can ask.”

Cedar Bluff also suf­fered heart­break on Thurs­day morn­ing, los- ing in four games to Donoho 17-25, 25-21, 9-25 and 14-25. The Lady Tigers’ sea­son ends at 21-23.

“Donoho’s a real good team,” firstyear Cedar Bluff coach Dei­dra Davis said. “We knew go­ing in it was go­ing to be tough. I was proud of how our girls came out. A lot of them took the loss to Spring Gar­den to heart and they played with some fire in their eyes. We did some good things, but we didn’t fin­ish some things. This should give us some­thing to build on for next year.”

Abby McBur­nett led the Lady Tigers with 10 kills. She also posted three digs. Kiana Dob­bins added six digs, four kills and two aces. Laura Ann Hughes had 17 as­sists and six digs. Han­nah Cosby con­trib­uted five blocks, three kills and three digs. Kyla O’Neal and Brook­lyn Will­banks came away with four digs and three digs re­spec­tively. Mati­son Bed­well and Ash­ley Good­win fin­ished with a pair of kills apiece.

“I’m ex­tremely proud of their work ethic,” Davis said. “They’ve worked hard and stayed ex­tra (time). They’ve re­ally showed a lot about them­selves.

“This has been a great learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for me and the girls. It’s some­thing we can build on for years to come.”

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