Photo: The Southside High School volleyball team gathers for a photo following its victory over Glencoe in the Etowah County Schools championship last Saturday (Oct. 2) at Gaston. Pictured, first row, from left: Ziniah Hardy, Hannah Rogers, Chloe Smedley, Rylie Kitchens, Emma Knowlton. Second row, from left: Macey Herren, Keelan Vice, Rachael Wilson, Ella Knowlton, Kathryn Webb, Kylie McMichael. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor
The last time Southside failed to win the Etowah County Schools Volleyball Tournament, the current team’s seniors were enrolled in kindergarten.
It was business as usual for the Lady Panthers last Saturday, Oct. 2, as Southside swept through the competition to claim the top spot in the county for the 12th straight season. He last team to win the tournament other than Southside was Gaston, which took home the first-place trophy from 2005 to 2008.
The Lady Panthers (38-10) opened with a 25-14, 25-18 victory over Hokes Bluff, followed by a 25-14, 25-23 win against Sardis. That set up a rematch of last season’s championship match against Glencoe.
The Lady Yellow Jackets (19-13) fared no better than the Lady Eagles and Lady Lions, as Southside posted a 25-10, 25-10 victory to hoist the first-place trophy. Glencoe beat Gaston, West End, Hokes Bluff and Sardis to reach the title match
Head coach Courtney Brothers was proud of her squad’s dominating performance considering the heavy workload the Lady Panthers had put in over the past several days.
“We had a long travel week, so we were tired coming in,” she said. “We overcame some adversity and got the job done today, so I’m very proud of these girls.”
For the tournament for Southside, Tournament MVP Macey Herren had 20 kills, followed by Ziniah Hardy with 16 and Keelan Vice. Vice and Hardy each served up five aces, while Herren had three. Vice also had four blocks. Hannah Rogers came up with 22 digs, followed by Herren and Hardy with 15 each and Vice with six.
“This is a very quick and athletic bunch, and they still haven’t reached their peak,” said Brothers. “When they’re all in synch, it’s amazing how well they play together.”
Brothers felt that the momentum gained from winning the Danville Invitational last week, during which the Lady Panthers defeated four ranked teams, continued into Saturday.
“That was huge for us. We beat some good teams that we hadn’t seen before, so it really gave us a boost that we’re still riding.”
Brothers added that despite the length of the school’s streak, winning county never gets old.
“These seniors (Herren, Hardy, Rogers and Vice) have not lost a county tournament since they were seventh graders, which is quite an accomplishment. That’s something special that they can always have with them.”
For Glencoe for the tournament, Bri Beyerle had 52 assists, 39 kills, 33 digs, 13 blocks and eight aces; Madalyn Amberson had 44 digs, 26 kills and five aces; Abi Bunt had 43 assists, 23 digs, eight aces and five kills; Kinslee Gray had 71 digs, eight assists and eight aces; and Hailey Hanners had 20 kills, 12 digs, eight aces and six blocks.
Joining Herren on the all-tournament team were Hardy, Vice and Rogers from Southside and
Beyerle, Gray and Amberson from Glencoe.