Morgan County volleyball teams will take a break from regular-season games today to play in the county volleyball tournament at Austin High.
Every county team will participate, bringing together 1A-6A schools for an event that Austin coach Tina Lawrence said players and coaches continue to find worthwhile and beneficial every year.
DAILY Photo by Jonathan Palmer|
Austin High’s Shara Foster, right, makes one of her nine kills over Decatur’s Kate Graham on Wednesday at Austin High. Austin won 25-17, 25-7, 25-3. Others helping in the win were Amanda Butts with 14 assists and five aces, Brittney Smith with six aces and Shanise Foster with six kills. Austin (27-13) hosts the Morgan County tournament today at 2 p.m.
“You want your team to do well any time they play, but the county tournament is special for the girls to play in because they are playing against many of their friends and cousins,” said Lawrence, who is in her 17th year guiding the Lady Black Bears.
“Our county is getting better and better. The other coaches have done a great job bringing up the level of volleyball. Every one of these teams could do well in the postseason and play at the state tournament. Even though we represent all kinds of classifications, each team is strong and very competitive, and every team seems to bring their best game to this tournament.”
Pool play begins at 2 p.m. from which winners and runners up will advance to bracket play.
Austin is the defending varsity county champion, while Hartselle was runner up last season.
Danville placed third.
Hartselle beat Austin in the finals of the junior varsity tournament that was Tuesday at Danville.
The range of classifications may suggest clear-cut favorites, but county coaches say that’s not so. Class 6A Austin respects the county’s competition enough to schedule regular-season matches against Decatur, Brewer, Hartselle, Danville and Priceville — all smaller schools that Austin has beaten, but Lawrence said, “We had to work to get the win.” The county features two ranked teams: 5A No. 4 Hartselle and 3A No. 2 Danville.
“I think really it’s anybody’s tournament to win, it just depends on who’s having a good day that day,” Danville coach Holly Little said. “It’s definitely one of our goals to win it. It’s a stepping stone to area and state tournaments — something to build on.”
Brewer football among teams on win streak: There’s a winning attitude at Brewer High. That’s right, two wins in a row for the Patriots, but it’s something that has stretched beyond the playing field.
The Patriots posted a 9-6 region win over West Point at home Sept. 22 before beating out-of-region opponent Hayden 28-14 Friday on the road.
The last time Brewer put up back-to-back wins was 2004 when they won their final two games of the season to finish 2-8. It was coach Billy Coleman’s first year at Brewer. Now in his third season, Coleman said he’s proud of his Patriots for their accomplishments that are helping move the program forward.
“A lot of these guys, it’s their third year in our system, and we’re really starting to see a lot of good things happen,” Coleman said. “We’re becoming more competitive, and the guys on this team and their contributions are really a big part of that.”
Coleman said that after his team won last week at Hayden, the opposing chain crew visited his locker room to let him know that they were inspired by his team’s attitudes on the sideline — a gesture, he said, tops any amount of wins.
“I think I’m most proud of this group for their commitment to being the best they can be on and off the field,” Coleman said. “The way they’ve conducted themselves and fought to overcome difficult times.”
Brewer will host Hartselle, which is also among area teams on a winning streak, Friday night. Brewer, Hartselle and Ardmore have all won two in a row, while Athens, Tanner and Addison remain undefeated.
East Limestone hosts its big one: Ask most any East Limestone Indian what game he has circled on his calendar, and this week’s game will be mentioned most every time.
It’s North Jackson.
And amid a schedule with several local out-of-region rivalries like Athens High and Tanner, the Chiefs pose a region rivalry that has swelled into one of North Alabama’s biggest events each year.
“Preseason predictions had us and North Jackson battling for the region championship, and that’s the way we want it to be,” East Limestone coach Jeff Pugh said.
Since joining 4A, Region 7 in 2000, North Jackson has won five of six region championships. Its only runner-up finish came to East Limestone in 2004 on the heels of a 14-6 loss to the Indians on what is now named Cavnar Field, after the late coach Phil Cavnar, who guided the Indians to the victory before dying of a heart condition the following summer.
This year the Indians come in as strong as ever, on a tear through region play, outscoring region opponents 166-14.
“I think they’re better than they were last year,” Pugh said. “They seem to have no weak area, no shortcomings.”
North Jackson’s only loss this season was a 10-6 decision to Class 6A Buckhorn in its season opener, while East Limestone fell to 5A No. 2 Athens 44-15 opening week and took its only other loss in a 28-27 decision to local rival 2A No. 4 Tanner on Friday.
“We’ve picked up our tempo getting ready for them this week,” Pugh said. “We’re going to have to play an almost perfect game to beat them. That’s what it’s going to take.”
Morgan volleyball tournament
When: Today at Austin High. Pool play begins at 2 p.m.
Who: Pool A — Falkville, Decatur and Danville
Pool B — Hartselle, Priceville and Austin
Pool C — West Morgan, Decatur Heritage and Brewer