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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2007
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Austin's Brittney Smith (20) collects one of her nine kills Wednesday afternoon, this one coming over Decatur's Ali Ferrell. Austin senior Ali Barnett, left, watches. Austin defeated Decatur 3-0 at Austin High. Both teams play in the Morgan County tournament, which begins at Brewer on Thursday.
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer
Austin's Brittney Smith (20) collects one of her nine kills Wednesday afternoon, this one coming over Decatur's Ali Ferrell. Austin senior Ali Barnett, left, watches. Austin defeated Decatur 3-0 at Austin High. Both teams play in the Morgan County tournament, which begins at Brewer on Thursday.

Seniors lead Austin
Lady Black Bears beat crosstown rivals

From staff reports

The Austin Lady Black Bears continued to pound their opponents on the volleyball court. On Wednesday, it was Decatur's turn.

The Black Bears improved to 33-18 on the season after whipping their crosstown rival 25-18, 25-11, 25-12 at Austin High.

Austin coach Tina Lawrence said she was glad to see her team take charge and play with intensity.

"I didn't have to say much to the girls to get them ready," Lawrence said. "It's Decatur. It's their crosstown rivals. Many of the Decatur players are good friends with our players. They've grown up playing with and against each other in not just volleyball, but basketball and softball. It's always special when the two schools meet."

Seniors Shara Foster and Brittney Smith led the Black Bears' attack. Foster had 10 kills and four blocks. Smith contributed nine kills.

Senior Shanise Foster racked up 19 assists and Carlie Keenum 11 for Austin.

In digs, senior Ali Barnett and Lindsey Fail each recorded five.

Andrea Frame tallied four aces, while Shanise Foster had three.

Melissa Thompson pitched in with three blocks.

Lawrence was excited to see her seniors step up against Decatur.

"For our seniors, it was their last home match," Lawrence said. "The girls received roses, and we had a party for them afterwards."

Other seniors recognized as team captains at the coin toss were Tiera Robinson and Abi Merrill. Senior team manager Stephen Gustin also was honored.

Decatur High coach Ashley Mueller said Shara Foster was dominant around the net against the Red Raiders (13-21).

"Shara is a big hitter up front. She hit some balls today we couldn't block," Mueller said. "Austin has a great team and those seven seniors do a great job. We tried and I'm always proud of my girls."

For the Lady Red Raiders, Whitney Fletcher had two kills and four aces. Kate Graham had four blocks and two kills.

In assists, Kim Collis had three and Shannon Laughlin had a pair.

Quita Lyle and Victoria Wynn had a kill apiece.

"Our team is getting better," Mueller said.

At 4-2 in Area 16, Decatur goes into the area tournament in Muscle Shoals on Oct. 16 as the No. 2 seed.

Lawrence said her team is getting players back from injuries and the team is focusing on Oct. 16, the area tournament at Bob Jones.

Presently, Austin is tied in second with Sparkman in Class 6A, Area 16. Both teams trail Bob Jones. Both Austin and Decatur begin play Thursday in the Morgan County tournament at Brewer High.

Lawrence likes her team's progression and is preaching three things as the area tournament nears.

"I'm telling the girls to treasure every point, keep the intensity high and play up their potential."

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