BEREA — Jeremy Grant knew his team was hungry for another district title.
Despite having just one hour between the first round of the 44th District Tournament and the title game on Tuesday — his team didn’t rest after defeating Model Laboratory in three sets.
“They were moving and practicing for the game against Central and I wasn’t even in the gym,” Grant said. “I didn’t have to say much to them. They were prepared and ready to go out there. This group has been so committed this year.”
Julia Bingham said, even with the delay to the start of practice because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Lady Eagles have been determined all year to clinch their second straight district title.
“We could do our workouts like in past season, so we knew we had to work hard and had to come in strong,” Bingham explained. “We wanted this.”
The Lady Eagles earned another district title after topping rival Madison Central in four sets with scores of 25-16, 25-23, 26-24 and 25-11.
Southern got off to a strong start on Tuesday, using a string of kills from Bingham to take a strong lead in the first set.
Central fought back and kills from Bailey Hensley helped the Lady Indians take the lead and force a Southern timeout.
However, Southern rattled off a blistering run of aces and kills to take the set.
In the second set, Central fought back and put up four unanswered points before the Lady Eagles responded.
The teams kept it close the entire set but Avrey Rigney tipped the ball over the net to clinch the win for the Lady Indians.
In the third set, Southern fell behind once more as Central kept their energy up. However, the Lady Eagles used a string of aces to pull ahead 14-9. The Lady Indians refused to back down and quickly closed the gap. The teams traded points but Southern managed to get the final crucial points.
In the final set, the Lady Eagles charged out to an expansive lead and never went back.
“Kyla ran off some serves and they were aggressive about going after the balls,” Grant said of his teams ferocity in the final set. “We give teams fits and we take things that shouldn’t work and make it work just based off that hustle.”
Avery St. John said the team was just ready to take it up a notch in the final set.
“I think we got down and we wanted it more and we kept pushing. We wanted 2020 on that banner. We knew what we had to do,” she explained.
Bingham said Atkins serves helped propel the Lady Eagles forward during the final set.
“She gave us that cushion and lead we needed and we just worked together after that to get the win,” she explained.
Grant said he is proud of how cohesive his team has been this year and credits his players teamwork to earning the victory.
“It’s a different person in stretches that just steps us and gets us what we need every game. Macie Daniels just played great. Reece Estep had some really nice kills and Autumn Griffith is our defensive spark plug, she gets us going. Kyla is like our swiss army knife — she can do about anything we need her to do,” Grant explained.
The Lady Eagles said Tuesday they plan to enter regionals with a chip on their shoulder.
“We had two Division I players on our team last year and a lot of talent, this year we wanted to prove that we were just as good and could still win. We aren’t afraid to work hard and scrap, so I think we will just take that mindset into regionals,” St. John said.
Central tops Berea in first round
Madison Central battled back from an early deficit in the first set against Berea Community in the first round of the 44th District Volleyball Tournament on Tuesday. However, the Lady Indians got back on track and took all three sets to move on to the title game against Madison Southern.
The Lady Indians won by scores of 25-21, 25-13, 25-22.
For Central, Avrey Rigney had nine kills and three blocks, Riley Campbell had one assist, Emma Carter had one assist, Haven Combs had one kill, Macaila Morin had two kills and nine digs, Journey Misrendino had 14 assists and four digs, Addison Martin had three kills, one block, Ananiah Huguely had three kills and one dig, Sophie Hiles three kills and four aces, Bailey Hensley had a kill, a dig and two aces, Sicilia Friend had a kill, two assits, 13 digs and four aces, Lily Dobbins had a dig, Ella Cornett had eight digs and two aces.
For Berea, Taelor Alexander had one kill and 14 digs, Sophia Dobbins had five kills and 16 digs, Morgan Short had five kills and three blocks, Serenity Short had five digs, Peyton Azbill had seven digs, Kaley Harrison had one kills, Taylor Johnson had a block, three killsm an assist and two digs, Trinity Hannon had an assist, three kills and four digs.
Southern sweeps Model
Madison Southern came out strong against the Lady Patriots and took all three sets to earn a shot at a second 44th District title on Tuesday.
The Lady Eagles won by scores of 25-7, 25-12, 25-11.
For Southern, Macie Daniels had a block, Kara Combs had nine assists, two blocks and nine aces, Julia Bingham had 12 kills, two blocks and seven aces. Kyla Atkins had four kills, an ace, 15 assists, three digs and four aces, Reece Estep had two kills, six digs and three aces, Breanna Dawes had two digs, Emma Hazelwood had a kill, Autumn Griffith had nine digs and one ace, Ally Skidmore had two digs, Emily Young had a dig, Avery St John had three kills, two digs and five aces, Chloe Osborn had a kill, a dig and an ace, Kennedy Johnson had two digs and an ace, Kaylee Davis had a dig and Reagan Burns had an ace.