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AHS headed to Elite 8

JEMISON — Andalusia coach Angie Grimes said Thursday that her team’s confidence was the difference as the Lady Bulldogs defeated a veteran Jemison team 3-1 and advanced to the Class 4A Elite Eight state tournament in Pelham next Wednesday.

“(After splitting the first two games), we decided that we wanted to go to state and we believed we could do it,” she said. “I thought the girls came together and played as a team. We knew Jemison was a really good team and we’d have to play well to win.”

Andalusia won the match, 25-20, 22-25, 25-8, 25-18, in the playoffs’ sub-state round. Last year, Andalusia failed to make it to the Elite Eight after advancing to Pelham in both 2006 and 2007.

“It was important for us to make it back this year,” Grimes said.

Andalusia (25-13) moved out to quick leads in each of the games. The Lady Bulldogs led 6-0 in game one, 5-1 in game two, 15-1 in game three and 7-0 in game four.

“Our girls have played hard all year, we just didn’t come through today,” said Jemison coach Leighsa Robinson. “We made too many errors back-to-back and didn’t correct ourselves.”

After dropping the first game, Jemison bounced back to split the match and hoped to carry momentum into the third game. Instead, the Lady Panthers ran up against Andalusia senior Amber Anderson.

Jemison couldn’t get Anderson off the service line to begin the third game, as she served for 14 consecutive points. Anderson was also part of an imposing Bulldogs offensive attack that rained down kills throughout the match.

Anderson had six kills and 10 digs. Also for Andalusia, A.C. Riley had 10 aces; Shi’Amber Townsend had six kills; Airyesha Jenkins had four blocks; and Ellie Pollock had 12 digs.

Jemison’s Emily Smithey led her team with 14 digs. The Lady Panthers recorded 31 kills but made 25 attack errors.

Jemison’s Tabatha Cork recorded 11 kills to go along with four assists. Kasi Wells had 20 assists, nine digs, four kills and two blocks, and Whitney Childress had five aces.