BIRMINGHAM – Fourteen outstanding volleyball teams advanced through quarterfinal and semifinal play Wednesday to advance to the 2017 AHSAA State Volleyball Championships Thursday.
Defending champions Addison (1A), St. Luke’s Episcopal (2A) and Bayside Academy (3A) each claimed semifinal victories at Birmingham’s CrossPlex Wednesday. The 46th annual championships move to the Bill Harris Arena next door beginning at 8 a.m., with 1A finals at the 5,500-seat arena. The remaining schedule features the Class 6A finals at 9:45 a.m.; Class 7A at 11 a.m.; Class 5A at 1:15 p.m.; Class 4A at 3 p.m.; Class 2A at 4:45 p.m.; and Class 3A closing out the seven championship matches at 6:30 p.m.
Each championship will be live-streamed over the NFHS Network with veteran announcer Jerry Young handling the play-by-play.
Bayside Academy (41-10) nipped Carbon Hill (69-10) in the Class 3A semifinals Wednesday 3-1 to move into the 3A finals Thursday. The Lady Admirals of Coach Ann Schilling will striving to claim their 16th consecutive state crown facing Montgomery Academy (44-12) in the championship at 6:30 p.m. That match will close out the 46th annual state tournament.
Senior setter Ansleigh Daily had 39 assists and senior outside hitter Brantley Rhodes had 18 kills in the tough semifinal win over Carbon Hill. The Bulldogs were led by junior Alyssa Dutton’s 14 kills. Bayside owns 25 state championships dating back to 1981. Schilling’s team won three in a row from 1998-2000, failed to win in 2001 and has won ever since. The 2002-2007 championships came in Class 2A and the rest since then have come in Class 3A.
Montgomery Academy beat Providence Christian 3-2 in the other semifinal battle. Coach Julie Gordon’s Eagles won the 2A state crown in 2013.
Addison (50-8) is going for its fourth championship in a row – winning in Class 2A in 2014 and 2015 and last year in Class 6A. Coach Kayla Woodard’s Bulldogs will face arch-rival Meek (46-17), insuring that Winston County schools will own the crown for one more year.
St. Luke’s (33-15) will meet Goshen (28-13) in the 2A finals. The Wildcats won their first state championship last season and the Eagles are playing in the finals for the first time in school history.
Deshler and Saint James will meet in the 4A finals. The Tigers of Coach Jana Killen will be vying for the school’s first volleyball state title. Killen has coached the Lady Tigers (43-14) to five state basketball championships, however, winning the 4A titles in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2015 and 2016. Saint James (36-9) captured volleyball titles in 2001 and 2003. Lawrence County (59-4) and Alexandria (43-9) square off in the 5A championship match. The Red Devils have five state championships with the last one coming in 1999. Alexandria won back-to-back titles in 1993, 1994 and 1995.
In Class 6A, Pelham (40-9) is taking on Jasper (59-4). The Panthers won state titles 1993 and 1997 and the Vikings will be playing for their first state crown. McGill-Toolen Catholic insured a new 7A champion will be crowned by knocking off Mountain Brook in the semifinals. The Spartans won the first three 7A titles since the new class was added (2014, 2015 and 2016). McGill (45-7) has 19 state titles to its credit with the last one coming in 2005. The Dirty Dozen will be facing Bob Jones, which knocked off Oak Mountain in the other 7A semifinal. The Patriots (41-10) have two state titles with the most recent coming in 2013.
AHSAA 46th Annual Volleyball Championships
THURSDAY’S CHAMPIONSHIP SCHEDULE
At Bill Harris Arena
(All matches lived-streamed by the NFHS Network)
Addison (50-8) vs. Meek (46-17), 8 a.m.
Goshen (28-13) vs. St. Luke's Episcopal (33-15), 4:45 p.m.
Bayside Academy (41-10) vs. Montgomery Academy (44-12), 6:30 p.m.
Saint James (36-9) vs. Deshler (43-14), 3 p.m.
Lawrence County (59-4) vs. Alexandria (43-9), 1:15 p.m.
Jasper (57-4) vs. Pelham (40-9), 9:45 a.m.
Bob Jones (41-10) vs. McGill-Toolen Catholic (45-7), 11:30 a.m.
MONTGOMERY – Buckhorn High School (43-11) rolled to four straight wins at Lagoon Park to capture the 2017 Class 7A state softball championship Friday. Coach Alvin Rauls’ Lady Bucks beat their Madison County arch-rivals and defending state champion Sparkman 5-0 in the championship game.
Zoie Emrick pitched 4 1/3 innings in relief to get the win. She allowed no hits or runs and struck out two. Starter Lauren Harbin started and allowed two hits over 2 2/3 innings.
Emrick, was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Class 7A state tourney.
Buckhorn took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning and then scored four in the fifth frame with Jordan Evans’ three-run double the big hit. Courtney Marlow also had two hits and one RBI and scored twice. The Bucks also beat Fairhope 12-1, Tuscaloosa County 10-2 and Spain Park 7-1 to outscore all four opponents 34-4 in the state tourney.
Cassidy Duskin got the loss for Sparkman (54-11). Taylor Davis and Amanda Shikoh each had a hit for the Senators, who lost in the first round to Baker 7-5 and then won four straight games in the loser’s bracket to reach the finals.
The state tourney continues Friday and Saturday at Lagoon Park with all championship games set to be live-streamed over the NFHS Network.
Class 7A All-State Tournament Team
Zoie Emrick, Buckhorn (MOP); Sidney Edwards, Buckhorn; Kaylee Combs, Buckhorn; Laura Harbin, Buckhorn; Taylor Davis, Sparkman; Cassidy Duskin, Sparkman; Lily Calvert, Sparkman; MacKenzie Nutt, Buckhorn.