Daily file photo by Gary Cosby Jr.|
Danville High’s Sarah Terry (40) and Jordan Spinks (10) block a shot against Brewer in the Morgan County tournament Oct. 4. The Lady Hawks open play in the state tournament in Pelham on Wednesday.
With 1 senior, intense Danville ready for state championship
Lady Hawks open tournament with Montevallo at 2 p.m.
By Mark Edwards
About two weeks ago, Danville High’s volleyball team huddled before its Class 3A, Area 13 championship match against Good Hope.
Head coach Holly Little looked at the faces of the players, and what she saw told her all she needed to know — they were going to win. It didn’t matter that the Lady Hawks had fallen to Good Hope twice in two regular-season meetings.
“I could just see that by looking at them that they were ready to play,” Little said.
Danville scored a 25-12, 25-20, 29-27 win in the match, and the team’s only senior, Alaina Fitzgerald, gave an early indication that the day belonged to the Lady Hawks when she provided three big blocks in the first game.
Little said her team has shown the same commitment and intensity ever since. The Lady Hawks have used that new level of play to score a state tournament berth for the third straight year.
Danville (41-27) will face Montevallo (30-3) in the first round of the eight-team field Wednesday at 2 p.m. If the Lady Hawks win, they’ll play either Madison Academy (44-13) or Mobile Christian (19-22) in the semifinals at 8:30 p.m.
Danville finished second in 2005 and reached the semifinals last year, but the Lady Hawks lost star players Lauren Simmons and Bethany Evans from those squads. Both Simmons and Evans are playing at Wallace State-Hanceville now.
But the winning attitude that Danville built during those two seasons remains.
The Lady Hawks used it to make the finals of the 3A, Region C tournament, where they lost to Lexington (50-3), which also made the state tournament. Then in the sub-state, Danville knocked off Geraldine to earn another trip to Pelham.
“I think what we did the last two years does carry over,” Little said. “Right now, they’re playing incredibly. They’re playing with intensity.
“They’re very young, but they’re playing with so much intensity.”
Little has four freshmen who play important roles in the lineup, including Lindsay Simmons, Lacey Evans, Morgan Doherty and Kaitlyn Wallace. Three sophomores also contribute — Tara Wimberly, Sarah Terry and Taylor Shutts.
But there are four juniors who help lend experience to the lineup, including Jordan Spinks, Chelsea Keenum, Kimberly Lindsey and Kirby Wallace.
Fitzgerald, as the only 12th-grader, is the team’s top leader, however. Little said Fitzgerald’s teammates trust her leadership, and she repays that trust by doing a little bit of everything on the floor — and sometimes a lot of everything.
For example, in the win over Geraldine, she led the team in kills (20), assists (16), blocks (five) and aces (five). She was second in digs with eight.
“She sets, she serves and she’s a great hitter,” Little said. “She does it all.”
High school volleyball state tournament
All matches are in Pelham. The tournament is single elimination, and eight teams are in each of the six classifications. The games listed are the quarterfinal matches.
Class 5A: Hartselle vs. St. Paul’s, 9:30 a.m.
Class 4A: East Limestone vs. Alabama Christian, 11 a.m.; Lawrence County vs. Trinity, 12:30 p.m.
Class 3A: Danville vs. Montevallo, 2 p.m.; Elkmont vs. Montgomery Academy, 3:30 p.m.
Class 2A: Addison vs. Holy Spirit, 9:30 a.m.
Class 1A: Athens Bible vs. Parkway Christian, 12:30 p.m.
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