DAPHNE. Ala.—Ear plugs were optional Thursday night inside Moorer Gym in Daphne, but volleyball fever was mandatory as the 11-time defending state champion Class 3A Bayside Academy Admirals welcomed the No. 2-ranked Dirty Dozen of 6A McGill-Toolen …
DAPHNE. Ala.—Ear plugs were optional Thursday night inside Moorer Gym in Daphne, but volleyball fever was mandatory as the 11-time defending state champion Class 3A Bayside Academy Admirals welcomed the No. 2-ranked Dirty Dozen of 6A McGill-Toolen Catholic to the Eastern Shore.
A packed house saw Bayside take the point-packed match in four games 25-20, 22-25, 25-18, 25-23. Both teams made some of the typical early-season errors but the Lady Ads managed their mistakes better in three of the four games to up the B.A. overall match-victory streak to 62. The Bayside crew went 61-2 last year dropping one match to Mc-T and the other to Hartselle in a tournament last August.
"The kids did a really good job tonight," said Admirals coach Ann Schilling. "We played strong defensively, served well and just played tough. For the first match playing at home, we were nervous but I thought we did a really good job. We were outsized, but played with a lot of heart. They were up for it."
Down 2-games-to-1 to start the fourth set, Mc-T seemed headed to force a fifth and deciding set after senior Katelyn Bobinger delivered eight-straight go-ahead points from the service line in game four. But Bayside answered with a sideout point followed by a string of point winners off the serves of sophomore Julia Martin and freshman Lauren Chastang to take an 11-10 lead. The lead changed hands until tied at 23-23, senior Jhalen Caffey served for the game and match point.
“We were just looking for a sideout any way we could,” Schilling said of the Bobinger lead-off run. “Harper Morrison came up with two big blocks and a kill down the line for us in game four and we served tough enough to get us back in it. It’s really better to be down 8-0 than 16-8 because you have a better chance of making up points and we did.”
McGill-Toolen head coach Gretchen Boykin said despite the early lead in game four and solid aggressive play at the net, the game was lost at the service line because that’s where it all starts.
"Anyone sitting in this gym knows that we killed ourselves on the service line.,” she said. “We killed our momentum. Our lack of execution on the service line meant we had less confidence in other areas of our game.”
Caffey had eight kills, three blocks and 13 digs while Lauren Chastang had eight kills, three blocks and 10 digs. Morgan Dulaney had five kills and two blocks and Morrison added three kills with four total blocks.
MaxPreps 2013 All-American setter Sydney Chandler delivered 17 assists, three kills and nine digs for B.A.
Bobinger had three aces for the Dozen with seven blocks and eight kills, Autumn Trimble had nine kills and three blocks, Victoria Young had nine kills and four blocks, Sharon Williams added 12 assists and nine digs, Liz Murphy added 12 assists and eight digs, Kendall Coleman contributed 16 digs while Katherine Still had 10 digs.
Bobinger, Trimble and Young were dominate at the net much of the night, but only enough for the win in game two. Bayside countered with a smaller but deeper rotation up front led by Chastang and Dulaney who were not completely green lighted due to preseason injury, so played limited roles, Schilling said.
"Morgan Dulaney had tendonitis so I had to ease her into the match during the night because she isn't 100 percent right now and has limited swings. Lauren has only been to four practices since breaking her ankle. But she played strong tonight. We've faced a lot of adversity already this year. All my players stepped up tonight. They all did a wonderful job."
Bayside and the Dirty Dozen meet again Sept. 24, for a regular-season match at Mc-T at 6 p.m.
Both Boykin and Schilling played at Mc-T for legendary coach Becky Dickinson. Each said playing the best competition possible with all the noise and distractions of a championship atmosphere filling the air has positive influence down the road.
"Without a doubt, you can’t practice this.” Boykin said. “You have to experience it. but it does make you better. This was a great environment for our players to play in. We just have to get used to it again. It’s still early. This was a starting point. I hope we're going to get better at everything. We just have to step up in pressure situations and be mentally tough."
The two could meet again this weekend in the Juanita Boddie tournament in Birmingham today and tomorrow. Early round draws set The Admirals against Clay-Chalkville at 5:45 p.m. and Mortimer Jordan at 8:15 p.m. Friday. McGill-Toolen will take on Hartselle (Preseaon No.1 in 5A) at 7 p.m. on Friday.