Nine tearful seniors walked off the court for the last time for Alabama Christian after falling to Calera in four sets in the Class 4A volleyball Regional on Friday.
The loss ended a seven-year state tournament streak for the Eagles, and it’s the first time they’ve missed out since coach Manuel Guice took over in 2009.
“I knew it was going to be tough,” Guice said. “If you look in our area, you’ve got the No. 3 team in the state in St. James. So finishing runner-up put us against the No. 5 team.”
ACA lost the first two sets 25-20, 25-17. They fought back to win the third set 25-23, but Calera jumped out to a quick 11-3 lead in the fourth set. Still, ACA battled back to cut the lead to two before falling 25-21.
Senior Kendra Mitchell said the close loss left more of a mark.
“It made it worse because we know we could’ve played with them,” Mitchell said. “We did fight out of that hole that we got ourselves into, but it just makes it worse. I’m proud of my team for coming back and just fighting back the way that we did. I just wished it would’ve worked out.
“It’s sad not going to state senior year, especially after you’ve gone three years in a row. But, I guess I wish them luck.”
St. James dominates Bibb Co.
No. 3 Saint James flexed its muscles in the first round against Bibb County, holding the Choctaws to just 22 points combined in the sweep.
Led by setter Laura Catherine Clark, the Trojans were able to sweep the Choctaws 25-9, 25-7, 25-6.
Clark had 34 assists setting up Amanda Cherry and Lacie Vette, who each had 10 kills. Regan Riddle added eight kills.
“If you have a great setter, you have a great offense,” St. James coach Kellye Bowen said. “All of them played really well. They did their jobs and they did them well. But without a setter, you can’t do anything.”
The Trojans came out of the gate on fire, thanks to a little added rest this week.
“We had a really good week of practice and I think they were ready to get out here and play because later in the week I kind of toned it down and let them get their legs underneath them,” Bowen said. “They were ready to get out on the court again.”
St. James plays Carbon Hill at 1:30 p.m.