Photo: The Southside High volleyball team gathers for a photo following the Lady Panthers’ victory over Glencoe in the championship match of the Etowah County Schools Tournament last Saturday (Oct. 3) in Walnut Grove. Pictured, kneeling, from left: Rylie Kitchens, Samantha Hathcock, Hannah Rogers, Ziniah Hardy, Khloe Knight. Standing, from left: Keelan Vice, Macey Herren, Ella Knowlton, Rachael Wilson, Kathryn Webb, Lynnsey Hunt, Sydney Yancey. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
Southside held off a pesky Glencoe team in the championship match to win the program’s 12th straight Etowah County Schools Volleyball Tournament title last Saturday (Oct. 3) in Walnut Grove.
After sweeping Sardis (25-18, 25-18) and No. 1 seed Hokes Bluff (25-19, 25-22), the Lady Panthers (24-13) overcame a five-point deficit late in the first game of the championship match to win 25-23. Southside then clinched the first-place trophy with a 25-15 victory.
Southside head coach Courtney Brothers acknowledged that her squad, with her seniors in particular, felt the pressure of not wanting to be the school’s first team in several years to come up short at the county tournament.
“That was their mindset coming in; they wanted to defend their title,” she said. “They also weren’t happy to be the No. 2 seed and wanted to prove a point. Glencoe is a very scrappy and a very well-coached team, and they hung around. But that was their fifth straight match of the day, and we kind of wore them out in the second game.”
For Southside, Tournament MVP Keelan Vice finished with 25 kills, followed by Ella Knowlton with 14 and Sydney Yancey with 10.
Kathryn Webb distributed 60 assists, while Yancey and Hannah Rogers each came up with 10 digs. Vice and Knowlton had seven and five blocks, respectively.
After opening the tournament with a 23-25, 22-25 loss to West End, the Lady Yellow Jackets battled back in the playback bracket with a 25-19, 27-25 sweep of Sardis and a 25-18, 25-15 win over West End. Glencoe then defeated Hokes Bluff, 25-18, 25-21 in the semifinals to earn a berth in the championship match.
“We seemed to just run out of steam during that last set,” said Glencoe head coach Jamie Barkley. “We couldn’t get to the ball like we had from 10 o’clock match on. Up until that last set, I felt like we played very well. We gave away 20 points in errors during the 8 o’clock match against West End, but we talked about controlling what we could control, and we played much more like ourselves after that. We have seemed to face adversity all season, and I know we aren’t alone in that, but these girls have risen to the challenges, and I’m very proud of them.”
For Glencoe, Bri Beyerle had 39 kills, followed by Mandy McGinnis with 21, Madalyn Amberson with 20, Taylor Russel with 18, Kayla Traylor with 12, Alie Silvey with eight and Elie Ginn with seven.
Silvey handed out 65 assists, while Jaxon Sizemore dished out 42. Kinsley Gray served up seven aces, followed by Adriana Bethel with five.
Bethel came up with 31 digs, followed by Beyerle with 18, Gray with nine and Silvey and Sizemore with seven each. Beyerle also had eight blocks.
Joining Vice on the all-tournament team were Rogers, Yancey and Knowlton from Southside; Beyerle, Silvey and Bethel from Glencoe; Mackenzie Bates and Ava Dodd from Hokes Bluff; Madison Parker and Vannessa Alldredge form West End; Lily Underwood from Sardis; and Leelah Gibbs from Gaston.