Back on top Ring­gold High spik­ers claim 6-AAA crown

Walker County Messenger - - Sports - By Scott Herpst

You have to go back all the way to 2010 to find the last time a Ring­gold High School vol­ley­ball team claimed an area cham­pi­onship.

But that all changed on Satur­day.

Ring­gold, seeded No. 1 af­ter win­ning all four of its area con­tests this sea­son, capped an un­beaten area slate by win­ning twice at North Mur­ray High School to earn the 6-AAA ti­tle.

The area cham­pi­onship means that the Lady Tigers will be the area’s No. 1 seed and will host in the first round of the state play­offs. Should they win, they would also host in the sec­ond round as well.

“We started back in July and our goal the en­tire time was to host in the first round at state,” head coach Ashley Boren said. “But to come into the area (tour­na­ment) as the No. 1 seed and fin­ish at No. 1 just feels awe­some.”

The Lady Tigers opened with a semi­fi­nal match against fourth­seeded Mur­ray County and picked up a com­fort­able 25-13, 2515 vic­tory. Ricki Lynn Bick­ley had eight kills, eight digs, three aces and a block in the win. Bethany Thoma­son added four kills and four aces. Zoie Met­calf racked up 13 as­sists to go with eight digs, three aces and two kills, while Chloe Hall had five digs and an ace.

Other con­trib­u­tors in­cluded Lau­ren Ter­rell (3 aces, 3 digs, 2 as­sists, 1 kill), Emily Ri­d­ley (2 digs), Jasley Brooks (1 ace, 1 dig) and Jewel Parham (1 kill).

The win put Ring­gold in the fi­nals against sec­ond-seeded Coahulla Creek, a straight-sets win­ner over third-seeded LFO in its semi­fi­nal match.

The Blue-and-White started out strong, win­ning 25-21 and 2516 to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five ti­tle match. But the Lady

Colts would re­group for a 25-20 win in the third set and they con­tin­ued their im­proved play in the fourth set, look­ing to send the match to a fifth and de­cid­ing set.

But Hall found the base­line on a kill to knot the fourth set at 24 and Ring­gold ar­rived at match point on a kill by Bick­ley. How­ever, Coahulla Creek would an­swer with a big point to tie things up at 25.

Brooks came through with a kill af­ter a tense rally to earn a sec­ond match point at 26-25, but it looked as if the Lady Colts had tied things up once again with an­other kill. The match of­fi­cial, how­ever, called Coahulla Creek for run­ning into the net, giv­ing Ring­gold the fi­nal set, 27-25, and the area cham­pi­onship.

“(Coahulla Creek) changed their ro­ta­tion (af­ter the sec­ond set) and moved their tallest girl away from our best blocker,” Boren ex­plained. “But I didn’t want to change our lineup so we stuck with it and we were able to pull it out.”

She added that once her team de­feated Mur­ray County to at least se­cure one home match at state, the only thought was to win it all.

“We re­ally wanted that No. 1 seed and it feels great,” she said. “It’s my fourth year here at Ring­gold and this is the far­thest we’ve gone in the area tour­na­ment. Hope­fully we still have a few weeks left to play. We at least want to go farther (at state) than last year when we got to the sec­ond round.”

Bick­ley paced the Lady Tigers with 13 kills and 31 digs to go with four blocks and two aces. Met­calf had six kills, five aces, 19 digs and 35 as­sists in the match, while Thoma­son added six kills, six digs and two aces.

Hall recorded 18 digs to go with four kills, two aces and a block. Brooks had 10 digs, five kills and an ace. Ter­rell added 16 digs, two as­sists, two aces and a kill, while Ri­d­ley had seven digs and one ace.

Ring­gold (23-17) will open the Class AAA state play­offs on Wed­nes­day when Hart County comes to Ca­toosa County. Should the Lady Tigers win, they would host the win­ner of the match be­tween Stone Moun­tain and sec­on­dranked Greater Atlanta Chris­tian.

The Lady Tigers will be on Fall Break both Mon­day and Tues­day, but Boren said a change in the nor­mal rou­tine would not be an is­sue.

“We’ll still have prac­tice those two days be­fore the match,” she added. “It won’t be a prob­lem be­cause the first round of state is al­ways on the Wed­nes­day of our Fall Break, so we’re used to it. We’ll just have light prac­tices and go over the ba­sics, like we did this past week.”

Bick­ley, Hall and Met­calf were also named to the 6-AAA All-Area Team as voted on by the area coaches. Ter­rell was an honor­able men­tion se­lec­tion.

Ring­gold splits reg­u­lar sea­son fi­nales

The Lady Tigers, miss­ing two play­ers due to in­juries, went 1-1 in their fi­nal two reg­u­lar sea­son matches of the year at home last Tues­day.

Ring­gold dropped a 25-19, 25-19 de­ci­sion to LaFayette, who is ranked eighth in Class AAAA. Hall had nine digs, four kills and an ace. Met­calf racked up 13 as­sists to go with six digs and a kill and Bick­ley had a team-high six kills and 16 digs.

Brooks fin­ished with six digs, three kills, four aces and an as­sist. Thoma­son col­lected five digs and a pair of kills, while Parham added four digs.

In the nightcap, Ring­gold held off Chris­tian Her­itage, 2516 and 25-23 be­hind a dozen kills, 10 digs, an ace and a block from Bick­ley. Thoma­son picked up five kills and five digs, while Met­calf added five kills, 11 digs and 18 as­sists.

Other stand­outs in­cluded Hall (13 digs, 1 kill), Brooks (6 digs, 4 aces, 3 as­sists, 1 kill) and Parham (3 digs, 2 kills).

The Ring­gold Lady Tigers won their first area cham­pi­onship since 2010 as they held off Coahulla Creek in the 6-AAA fi­nals at North Mur­ray High School on Satur­day. (Photo by Scott Herpst)

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