Area champions

Published 12:01 am Friday, October 19, 2012

The Opp Lady Bobcats celebrate their second straight Class 3A, Area 3 championship Thursday night. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Opp defeats Straughn, 3-1 for title

Opp found itself in a hole early on to Straughn and needed a way out.

Lady Bobcats coach Christie Spurlin gave her girls the perfect shovel — a good pep talk.

OHS fell 25-27 to SHS in its first game of the Class 3A, Area 2 championship, and Spurlin said she just reminded them that volleyball is all mental.

“After that first game, I was nervous,” Spurlin said. “They were killing me. I don’t know what was going on. I always tell them it’s a mind game and that you’ve got to play smart.”

The Lady Bobcats won the next three games 25-20, 25-19, 25-14 to claim their second straight area championship.

Opp’s Nisha Stoudemire, who was crowned the tournament MVP, said the team’s approach in the final three games was lofty.

“Coming in, we knew we wanted to take it somewhere that Opp hasn’t been,” Stoudemire said. “That kind of motivated the team and myself.”

Straughn took control in game one of the championship after sweeping Excel 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-16) to earn a berth to play in the Super Regional Tournament next week.

The Lady Tigers rallied late from a 14-17 deficit and made it close. The game went back and forth in the final four points.

In game two, OHS led 9-6, but SHS came back again, threatening late after one of its best games of the season.

Opp took over late in game three and at the mid-point of the fourth to earn its championship.

“I just want to congratulate coach Spurlin and her team,” SHS coach Marc Tracy said. “They did a great job. They’re never going to beat themselves.”

Tracy said he thought his girls came in with a good “mind set.”

“We a really good match against Zion Chapel (Straughn lost 3-2) and that just carried over a lot the momentum from that match,” he said. “This team played its best volleyball in the past two matches.”

Stoudemire led OHS with 11 kills and four blocks. Laiken Free added nine kills.

Straughn’s Jacie Williamson had eight kills, five blocks and seven digs in the championship match. Emily Hammett had 10 assists and Evan Frye had eight assists.

Hammett and Williamson made it on the all-tournament team from Straughn. Free and Caiden Harrell were selected from Opp in addition to Stoudemire.

Opp plays Greensboro on Friday in Montgomery for the first round of the Super Regional. Straughn will face Sipsey Valley at 9 a.m. on Friday.