By Matthew Martin/Sports Correspondent
Southside High defeated West End, 25-18, 25-14, to win the 2013 Etowah County Schools volleyball tournament on Saturday at SHS.
The Lady Panthers had little problems in the championship match as well as the rest of the tournament.
“These girls play so hard,” Southside coach Anna Johnson said. “They are just the best group of girls to coach. I couldn’t ask for a better group of girls to coach.
“We have won, I don’t know how many years in a row, but my junior high also won the county tournament, and JV (junior varsity) won it, so it’s a Southside sweep two years in a row; the two years I’ve been here (coaching). It’s fun. They’re a fun group to coach.”
As the tournament’s top seed, Southside beat Glencoe in its first match after the Lady Yellow Jackets knocked off Hokes Bluff in the tournament’s first round.
In the other first-round match, Sardis defeated Gaston to advance to take on West End. The second-seeded Lady Patriots won that match to advance in the winner’s bracket against Southside.
The Lady Panthers won that match to advance to the best-of-three tournament championship while sending West End to the loser’s bracket. The Lady Patriots then defeated Sardis to advance to the tournament championship match to take on Southside for a second time.
The Lady Panthers experienced a little trouble in the title match before winning the first set. Southside easily controlled the final set to earn the first place trophy.
“It’s a fun tournament, but it’s more for pride,” Johnson said. “We take pride in it, because we’ve won it so many years in a row. We think, ‘This is our tournament. We expect to win it. We really do. We expect to win it every year.”
Tournament MVP Molly Tucker led the Lady Panthers with 22 kills and 10 digs.
Also for Southside, Morgan Harris finished with 10 kills, 10 blocks, four aces and three digs.
Cassie Davis had 61 assists, while Lila Barrow contributed 13 digs.
Southside’s Harris and Bailey Gilchrist joined Tucker on the All-Tournament Team.
Also making the team were West End’s Morgan Cleveland and Courtney Oliver; Glencoe’s Sally Tinker and Amber Watkins; Hokes Bluff’s Carlie Shields and Chelsea Machleit; and Gaston’s Abby Elrod and Destiny Allen.
A lot of my girls, from middle school all the way up to high school, play [with the] Gadsden Volleyball Club,” Johnson said. “So they play [volleyball] year-round. They are dedicated to this sport and it shows.”