DAPHNE, Ala.— In a battle of state-best teams, Bayside Academy’s Class 3A No. 1-ranked Admirals avoided a fifth set showdown with a strong fourth-game finish to defeat visiting top-ranked Class 5A St. Paul's 25-11, 19-25, 25-20, 25-21 …
DAPHNE, Ala.— In a battle of state-best teams, Bayside Academy’s Class 3A No. 1-ranked Admirals avoided a fifth set showdown with a strong fourth-game finish to defeat visiting top-ranked Class 5A St. Paul's 25-11, 19-25, 25-20, 25-21 Tuesday.
"We came out strong," said Admirals coach Ann Schilling. "I told them we had to serve St. Paul's aggressively and we did. We're playing better right now. The kids that are playing different positions (than usually due to injured players) are becoming used to (what) we're talking about out there, we're playing as a team."
She added that defeating the top team in 5A is a good measure of how well her 3A team is playing, especially against Saints’ senior Shelley Spires.
“St. Paul's has a good team. If you beat them, you're doing something right. Shelley Spires makes them strong too. I don't think there's any better hitter in the state."
St. Paul's coach Kelli Hillier said her team played well in the second game to come back from what she called “awful,” in game one and even the match score 1-1. But the usually consistent Saints lost intensity during the back-and-forth, often-tied scores of games three and four. The last two games were tied as late as 20-20 and 19-19 before the Admirals pulled away.
"We beat ourselves," Hilyer said. "With us, the problem was ball control. Our serve receive defense and ball control killed us. I'm proud of my kids for not giving up and coming back in the second game. The match with Bayside is always a big game for us. We usually don’t get out of system that long. We never gave up, but Bayside doesn’t give up once they get you out, out of system and so it's just frustrating."
The Saints’ latest assistant coach is Kersten Reed who played four years at setter for Schilling.
“Kersten is doing a great job working with our new setter,” Hilyer said. “(Reed) has a lot experience in big games as a player with all the state championships playing for Ann. We are lucky to have her. But like I said, Bayside is always a big game for us and the girls always get up and excited to play here. Maybe we will be ready for them next time at our place. Maybe we will be more motivated.”
Schilling added Reed was an exceptional player and should be the same as a coach.
“It’s always fun when a kid you coached decides to get into it, too. I know Kersten has what it takes to excel in whatever she wants to do. Did a good job for us. I know she will learn a lot under Kelli at St.Paul’s and do well. She (Reed) and (hitter/blocker) Caroline (Gill) had a real tag-team thing going back in the day. They were a hard combo to stop.”
St. Paul’s will get a chance to even the series Oct. 1 when the Admirals visit the Old Shell Road campus at 6:30 p.m. Bayside (16-4) stands at 2-1 against the Saints (19-7).
Bayside was led by Morgan Dulaney with 19 kills, six digs; Lauren Chastang with 15 kills, 13 digs; Jhalen Caffey who had 14 kills and nine digs and Harper Morrison who added three kills and three digs. Libero Madison Matthews came up with 12 digs while defensive specialist Julia Martin came up with 10 digs as well as three kills. Setter Sydney Chandler completed 43 assists with 11 kills.
For the Saints, Spires delivered 14 kills, 12 digs; Kourtney Wadkins had nine kills, 13 digs; Kittie Harless had 10 digs, Morgan Eiland had four blocks and Olivia Scarcliff had 30 assists.