Westbrook, Glencoe fight the good fight at Elite Eight


Photo: Glencoe’s Evelyn Nowak (right) attempts a spike as Mobile Christian’s Hadley Kelley defends during the Class 3A Elite Eight state tournament on Tuesday, Oct. 31 in Birmingham. (Taylor Spradley/Messenger) 

By Chris McCarthy, Publisher/Editor

A pair of local high school volleyball teams came up short at the Class 3A Elite Eight state tournament on Tuesday, Oct. 31 at the Bill Harris Arena in Birmingham.
Westbrook Christian, which was making its first-ever appearance in a state volleyball tournament, fell to St. Luke’s, 17-25, 16-25, 22-25, while Glencoe lost to Mobile Christian, 10-25, 12-25, 15-25.
For the Lady Warriors (30-15), Raegan Harrell had 13 kills and five digs, Ellison Steward had seven kills and five digs, Landri Lipscomb had six kills and two blocks, Raylee Neal had 18 assists and five digs, Kylee Wyatt had 10 digs and two aces and Marley Cox had six digs and two kills.
“I thought that our girls played hard today,” said Westbrook coach Denise Mattison. “We were ahead of [St. Luke’s] a few times, but we just couldn’t finish. I thought that we matched up well [with St. Luke’s] but we’re a young team, and I think the atmosphere got to us a little bit. We had some opportunities to go ahead but we weren’t able to take advantage. But I’m so proud of this group. After the match they talked about not wanting to disappoint all the [Westbrook] students and the parents, so that shows just how much they care.”
For the Lady Yellow Jackets (18-39), Abi Bunt had nine digs and seven kills; Ali Jo Amos had four kills and two blocks; Brianna Adcock had eight digs and six assists; Emma Croy had five digs and three kills; Evelyn Nowak had five kills and a block; Kaelyn Hollis had 17 digs; Gracyn Bunt had six digs; and Libby King had three kills.
“We played as hard as we could,” said Glencoe head coach Jamie Barkley, who also led the Lady jackets to the Elite Eight in 2017. “We had a rough start to the year, but a lot of those losses were seven points or less, and we kept telling the girls what they were capable of and that they could make the state tournament. We hit a turning point about a month ago when the girls started to believe what we believed and brought into what we were doing. All it took was a spark, and that spark turned out to be when we beat Susan Moore, because then we knew that we could beat them if we matched up against them at regionals. So our girls got that spark and ran with it all the way to Birmingham.”
Barkley pointed out that four of her hitters finished with 200 or more kills, a rarity in high school volleyball.
“That was the key to our success,” she said. “It allowed us to spread the ball out really well and attack from different angles. It also helped us play together as a group, which is a big deal.”

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