By Chris McCarthy/Editor
For the first time in several years, Gadsden State did not participate in the Alabama Community College Conference Volleyball Tournament championship match.
The Lady Cardinals’ 2012 season came to an end in the ACCC semifinals against Faulkner State last Sunday (Nov. 4) at Beck Field House.
Gadsden State finished the season at 24-14 overall.
Wallace-Hanceville wound up winning its fourth straight ACCC title and will participate in the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament next week in West Plains, Mo.
“Faulkner just played better than us this weekend,” said GSCC head coach Angie Sanders. “We just didn’t come through when we needed to at that particular day and time. But it’s not because my kids didn’t put everything had into it. I can’t fault my girls for their effort.”
Having to battle back in the playback bracket after losing to Faulkner State in the quarterfinals, GSCC won two loser bracket matches before falling to Faulkner by a score of 25-23, 21-25, 20-25, 21-25.
“We beat them in the first set and felt that things were going pretty good, but during the second set we always seemed to be two or three points behind, which puts a lot of pressure on a team. Faulkner has a lot of offensive power this year, and they had an outside [hitter] and middle [hitter] that we just couldn’t stop.”
Gadsden State twice went the distance with the Lady Sun Chief this season, winning 3-2 at home on Oct. 11 and losing 2-3 in Bay Minettte in Oct. 26.
Coming in as the No. 3 seed, the Lady Cardinals opened the tournament on Nov. 3 with a 25-6, 25-19, 25-20 sweep of Spartanburg (SC) Methodist before falling to the Lady Sun Chiefs, 25-22, 12-25, 16-25, 25-17, 13-15.
Gadsden State rebounded later on Saturday with 25-6, 25-12, 25-19 victory over Jeff Davis, then beat Snead State on Sunday, 25-19, 26-24, 25-12, to set up a semifinal match with Faulkner.
“We were on top of the winning streak (in the state tournament) a few years ago, and we just have to break this one,” said Sanders. “We have to get across to the incoming freshmen and the group as a whole the importance of stepping up when the pressure is on. I think that sometimes our younger players feel that the spotlight is only on them when they make a mistake, and I try to stress to our girls that the fear and pressure of the game isn’t necessarily on one person’s shoulders; it’s on the whole team.”
For the tournament, Devonna Taylor had 51 kills followed by Kendra Lackey with 40, kills, Peyton Higgins with 39, C.J. Payton with 32 and Collin Nichols with 16.
Amy Estes and Peri Bryant distributed 85 and 80 assists, respectively.
Kayla Howard came up with 73 digs, followed by Higgins with 33, Bryant with 32, Tanna Lawson with 18, Estes with 15 and Nichols and McKenzie Slivka with 10 each.
Taylor had seven blocks.
Howard and Taylor were named to the All-ACCC Tournament team.