Photo: The Southside High volleyball team gathers for a photo following the Lady Panthers’ championship match win over Sardis in the Etowah County Schools volleyball tournament on Saturday, Sept. 30 at Hokes Bluff. Pictured, kneeling, from left: manager Ava Ramsey, Sarakate Yancey, Mallory Brooks, Jovi Marble, Lexie Graham, Kathryn Webb. Standing, from left: Peyton Burrell, Elizabeth Moore, Jalyn Allen, Rylann Shaw, Tessa Hood, Madison Shaw, Lily Steele, head coach Angie Reavis. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy/Publisher/Editor
In an accomplishment that has turned into a staple of the fall season, Southside High won its 14th straight Etowah County Schools volleyball tournament championship on Saturday, Sept. 30 at Hokes Bluff.
As the tournament’s No. 2 seed, the Class 5A No. 7 Lady Panthers (20-13) opened with a 25-19, 23-25, 15-5 victory over West End before defeating Sardis, 25-15, 25-9, in the semifinals. The Lady Lions then bested Glencoe in the playback bracket to face Southside in the championship match, where the Lady Panthers posted a 25-11, 25-16 sweep.
“We started out a little slow and sluggish this morning and dropped a set to West End, and we lost Peyton [Burrell] to an injury,” said Southside head coach Angie Reavis. “But it was a little more fast-paced against Sardis, and I thought we responded well in that match. Overall, I thought we played really well today.”
For the tournament for Southside, Tournament MVP Lexie Graham had 28 digs, 15 kills, three aces and one block; Madison Shaw had 18 kills, one dig and one block; Kathryn Webb had 41 assists, 15 digs, five aces, three kills and one block; Mallory Brooks had 29 assists, 14 digs and three aces; Jovi Marble had 38 digs, five assists and three aces; Sarakate Yancey had 16 digs, 12 kills and four blocks; Tessa Hood had 13 kills, four blocks, three digs and one assist; and Rylann Shaw had 12 kills, five digs and three blocks.
As the No. 2 seed, Sardis defeated Glencoe in the quarterfinals before dropping to the playback bracket. The Lady Yellow Jackets opened with a win over Hokes Bluff and beat Gaston and West End in the playback bracket before falling to Sardis. West End defeated Gaston, lost to Southside, beat Hokes Bluff and then lost to Glencoe.
Southside senior Kathryn Webb appreciated the fact that she was a part of six straight county titles, four as a starter at setter. Last Saturday was her first match back after missing two weeks with a shoulder injury along with a case of mononucleosis.
“It felt really good to be back out on the court and not just sit there cheering them on,” she said. “I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” she said. “Each year a group leaves, but they’ve all been very supportive, and we’re like one big family.”
Webb recently committed to Snead State in Boaz.
“I really love Coach [Cristie] Brothers, plus a bunch of my club teammates are at Snead right now,” she said. “I also know a bunch of girls that are going to Snead, so it just seemed like the right decision for me.”
Joining Graham on the All-Tournament team were Avah Horne from Gaston, Addison Faulkner from Hokes Bluff, Reagan Smith and Addison Mashburn from West End, Emma Croy and Abi Bunt from Glencoe, Vada Willmore and Jordyn Knight from Sardis and Marble, Brooks and Yancey from Southside.
“When selecting players for the the all-tournament team, I use my judgment for effectiveness and court leadership as well as stats,” Reavis added. “It also includes demonstration of good sportsmanship, leadership, general attitude and conduct on and off the court.”