By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Writer
After watching his team let Berea Community battle back into the second set Monday in the opening round of the 44th District Tournament, Madison Southern coach Jeremy Grant called a timeout.
And he made sure his team knew he was not the least bit pleased.
“I just told them that was not the team that we are and they needed to come out and make a statement and finish strong,” Grant said. “I kind of lit into them a little bit and told them to come out and show everybody what you’ve got.”
The Lady Eagles responded.
Southern won the next six points to capture the set and rolled from there to a 3-0 victory in Richmond. The Lady Eagles defeated Berea by scores of 25-8, 25-19, 25-11.
Southern advances to today’s championship game to take on Madison Central. Game time is set for 6 p.m.
Southern and Central will advance to the 11th Region Tournament.
The Lady Eagles (14-12) had a 9-3 lead in the second set after a Jordan Adams kill. But, the Lady Pirates (6-23) slowly got back in the set, getting solid serving from Miche Worley and kills from Autumn Grigsby and Hayley Penn.
Another kill from Grigsby got Berea within two points later in the set (16-14).
The Lady Pirates pulled even at 19-19 on a couple of solid serves from Worley.
Following the timeout, the Lady Eagles took control.
Jessica Angel ripped five-straight big serves and Jordan Adams had a couple of kills to close out the set.
“That six points, it didn’t even look like the same team,” Grant said.
Southern didn’t miss a serve in the first set and got aces from Sara Castle and Megan Faught.
For the match, the Lady Eagles had 19 aces and missed only eight serves. Castle had nine aces and eight kills, while Adams had six kills.
“That was the one thing I was really happy about tonight — our serving,” Grant said. “Except for one stretch in the second game, we served really well. That’s been a focus of ours in the past two or three weeks.”
Southern had already beaten Berea three times this season and, admittedly, Grant thought that early in the match his team might have been looking ahead to the championship game.
“They were ready for tomorrow night,” Grant said.
Central beat Southern twice during the regular season — 3-0 on Aug. 27 and 3-1 on Sept. 27.
The teams met in last year’s district championship and the Lady Indians picked up a 3-1 win.