Photo: Southside High’s Maggie Bell (left) battles at the net against a pair of Alexandria players during the Lady Panthers’ match victory in the Class 5A, Area 12 championship last Monday (Oct. 21) at SHS. (Chris McCarthy/Messenger)
By Chris McCarthy/Publisher/Editor
Backed by a raucous student section, the Southside High volleyball team won a second straight Class 5A, Area 12 championship last Monday (Oct. 21) at SHS.
The fifth ranked Lady Panthers (46-13) swept Alexandria, 27-25, 25-20, 25-18 to earn a trip to the Super Regional Tournament at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville. Southside faces Etowah County neighbor Sardis this Thursday (Oct. 24) at 9 a.m. The Lady Lions (23-17) lost to Crossville, 25-17, 25-17, 25-18, in the Area 13 finals, also held last Monday.
It was Southside’s first area championship win at home since 2008.
Southside and Alexandria battled back and forth for the first two games, during which neither team led by more than five points. Aside from the early going, the Lady Panthers did not take the lead in Game 2 until 15-14. The hosts did not relinquish the advantage from that point on.
Game 3 was a different story. The Lady Panthers raced out to leads of 8-3, 17-9 and 23-15 before closing out the Lady Valley Cubs.
“The girls did their job on that third set,” said Southside head coach Courtney Brothers. “The fought very hard to win the first two and finished like they were supposed to in the third set. [Alexandria] is one of our biggest rivals, so it’s just one of those [matches] that we get up for. Our girls came in focused and ready to play.”
Senior hitter Maggie Bell, who was named tournament MVP after contributing 10 kills, two digs, an ace and a block, credited the SHS student section for creating an exciting atmosphere.
“It was like a football game, and it really kept us energized. We get down a lot when we start messing up, and the student section keeps us hyped up. We’ve been talking since last week about getting to [the super regionals] but we had to beat Alexandria to get there.”
Macie Williams, Makayla Moore and Bliss Brown joined Bell on the all-tournament team along with Etowah’s Mackenzie Burke and Katie Hyde. Williams contributed 11 kills, three digs and two blocks; Moore finished with 10 kills and seven digs and Brown had 34 assists and four kills.
Glencoe, Hokes Bluff and Westbrook Christian also qualified for the super regionals.
Glencoe lost to Pleasant Valley, 25-15, 25-22, 25-23, in the Class 3A, Area 11 finals. The Lady Yellow Jackets (21-24) faces Westminster Christian on Thursday at 11:30 a.m.
Hokes Bluff fell to Jacksonville, 25-15, 25-17, 26-24, in the Class 4A, Area 10 finals. The Lady Eagles face Brooks on Thursday at 2 p.m.
Westbrook lost to Ohatchee, 25-13, 25-23, 26-24, in the Area 11 finals on last Tuesday (Oct. 22). The Lady Warriors (11-16) play Cedar Bluff on Friday, Oct. 25, at 9 a.m.