Lady Bulldogs advance to Elite 8

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 22, 2010

JEMISON — Trailing 2-0 and facing the end of their volleyball season as they knew it, the Andalusia Lady Bulldogs clawed their way back to beat Jemison 3-2 Thursday night at Alton Cobb Gymnasium.

Andalusia’s Shi’Ambert Townsend and Megan Pugh jump up for a block Thursday at the Class 4A sub-state tournament.

“I’m glad they fought back,” AHS volleyball coach Angie Grimes said. “We were down, and we fought back.”

Andalusia will advance to the Elite 8 state volleyball tournament next week in Pelham. They’ll play Jacksonville at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

The Lady Bulldogs won the match 16-25, 22-25, 25-16, 25-14, 15-12.

The Jemison Lady Panthers set the tone of the match early, only allowing 16 points for Andalusia, and any momentum the Lady Bulldogs had built.

In the second game, Andalusia (18-9) took an early 11-4 lead, but Jemison landed points on tips in the middle of the Lady Bulldogs’ court to pull out the 25-22 win.

Then, Andalusia turned its game up a notch.

In between games two and three, Grimes said she told her girls to keep fighting.

“I said ‘we came all this way, and all I really want you (the girls) to do is fight for it,’” she said. “I also said to try to run them down, and make them tired just like everybody else — and they did — just like we’ve been practicing for.”

With a 11-7 lead, the Lady Bulldogs took advantage of their outside offensive game with hitters Shi’Amber Townsend and Erica Staley, who landed critical points at the right time.

Andalusia lead 15-10, 19-12, 23-14 at different points in the third game before sealing the nine-point win, and cutting Jemison’s lead by one game.

At this point in the match, Andalusia had all of the momentum they needed to pull out the win.

The Lady Bulldogs dominated the fourth game for the tie, taking a huge 13-6 lead to force Jemison to take a time out.

The Lady Bulldogs increased their lead to 23-13 late in the game on a key block by Alison Daniels.

Townsend forced Jemison in the deciding game with an ace.

Again, the Lady Bulldogs found themselves facing the end of their season in the closing game.

Andalusia found itself down 6-11, and the Lady Panthers had the smell of victory in their nostrils.

But, the Lady Bulldogs made solid passes in the middle, and relied on its impressive offensive performance to tie the game up 11-11 on an ace by senior Ellie Pollock.

Jemison took the lead 12-11, but consecutive kills by the Lady Bulldogs sealed the win, taking the hope of a state tournament berth from the Lady Panthers’ grasp.