Straughn, Pleasant Home advance at regional

Published 12:07 am Saturday, October 25, 2014

1025 spt-Meredith Rogers, USE

Straughn’s Meredith Rogers sparked the Lady Tigers on a 9-0 run in the first game against Handley Friday afternoon. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

MONTGOMERY — Trailing 14-23 in the first set, Straughn’s Meredith Rogers sparked the Lady Tigers to a 9-0 run and used that momentum to beat Handley 3-0 in the first round of the Class 4A South Super Regional Tournament at the Cramton Bowl’s Multiplex.

Rogers used her pin-point service game and kept the volleyball landing in different spots on the HHS side.

“I just stayed focused and didn’t let the environment get to me,” Rogers said.

After tying the first game, SHS and HHS were locked in a late battle, but the Lady Tigers prevailed, winning the contest 29-27, 25-18, 25-9.

All match long, SHS did a stellar job of adjusting well to Handley’s game.

“They don’t quit,” Lady Tigers head volleyball coach Daniel Rodgers said. “We got down 14-23 and we got in a little hole and they didn’t quit. I told them they were fine. Everyone of the players they would sub out would say, ‘we’re fine.’ I knew they were fine.

“It was just getting over the (loud and busy) atmosphere (inside of the Multiplex),” he said. “They got over it and they played well and hard. I couldn’t be more prouder of them.”

With this victory, SHS advances to the tournament’s quarterfinal round, where it will face Montevallo at 9 a.m. today. The Lady Tigers need to win today to gain a berth to the Elite 8 State Tournament next week in Birmingham.

Handley came out strong in the opening set as it went ahead 7-3 in the early going.

Straughn cut it to 14-21 on a Ashley Hughes kill and a little later found itself on serve with Rogers at the helm.

When the game went to a 23-23 tie, both teams went back and forth trading points, but SHS pushed the ball in the right position for the final point to gain a 1-0 lead.

Straughn again fought back from a deficit in the second game and Rogers again helped the team get over the hump, forcing a HHS timeout at 12-all.

From there, the Lady Tigers attacked, attacked and attacked to go ahead 18-13 to put the game out of reach.

SHS senior Paige Taylor got a block in for the last point of the game.

“Her serves were big,” Rodgers said about Meredith. “Against Andalusia, she came through big in the area championship game, and she got us over that hump again (Friday) in that first game. She’s been real solid for us this year — serving wise. That got us over the hump.”

The Lady Tigers took a lead early in the deciding game and never looked back.

SHS senior Jacie Williamson served out the match with a 18-9 lead.

Rogers said he was happy to see his girls make their adjustments given that the officials were calling a lot of “double hits.”

“That first set, it seemed like we were looking like we were getting into a pushing match,” he said. “I told them to swing and if you had opportunities to attack, take it. We got some good sets and good strokes. They’ve been calling the double hit a lot (Friday) and (SHS senior setter) Katelyn (Kinsaul) did a real good job of making good sets so that we didn’t have that go against us. Everybody swung the ball. They played hard. They were resilient.”

Straughn senior Jacie Williamson led the team with eight aces and eight kills. Kinsaul had 15 assists. Hannah Lawless, who got many points with her strong swings, had five kills.

Leeds 3, Andalusia 1

Andalusia couldn’t quite get over Leeds’ strong service game and the Lady Bulldogs ended their season, losing 15-25, 10-25, 25-15, 6-25 at the super regional tournament.

AHS took a good 5-0 lead in the second set, but didn’t hold the advantage as LHS used strong serving to get the game close.

The Lady Bulldogs took a timeout after trailing 10-20 in the second set.

Fans sat in the stands cheering the AHS girls on yesterday. One fan had a sign that read “Getcha Head in the Game.”

AHS would turn it around in the third game by moving the ball well on offense as it found open holes. The Lady Bulldogs led 20-12 and led 23-15 to put it out of reach.

Lady Bulldogs senior Alexis Lawrence pushed the ball to the right spot earlier and gave her team a 16-11 lead.

AHS head volleyball coach Angie Grimes said at first, the girls couldn’t find their focus, but then the match changed when Leeds started serving well.

“We had a really hard time with their floater serves,” Grimes said. “We had a hard time reading those. That gets you frustrated, and of course, once we get down a couple points — we’re used to fighting back — but we were having a hard time with their serves. I thought we blocked them well when they did hit. Then, they started trying to tip and we started to cover those.”

Grimes said her girls will start working on those mistakes to get ready for next year. Additionally, AHS was called a lot on double touches.

“It comes down to mental stuff,” she said. “It’s something we know we can work on for next year.”

AHS finished its season 11-13.

Class 1A

Pleasant Home defeated Akron 25-16, 25-21, 18-25, 25-15 in the first round.

The Lady Eagles play at noon today against Linden and need to win their first game to get a berth to the Elite 8.

In Class 3A action, Opp fell 3-1 to Oakman.