One that does stack up — Donoho.
The two teams enter today’s Elite Eight State Volleyball Tournament as the favorites to play for the 1A state championship. Class 1A competition begins at 9 a.m. today at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
It’s easy to see why Addison and Donoho are the teams to beat — it’s been that way for the past two years.
Donoho got the best of Addison in the 1A state finals last year. In 2010, Addison ousted Donoho in the semifinals on the way to a state championship.
The two are on opposite sides of the bracket entering this year’s event. But there is plenty of work left for the Bulldogs and Falcons before the championship match.
Addison’s portion of the bracket includes the No. 4, No. 8 and No 10 teams in the state. Donoho could face No. 3 Lynn in their semifinal match.
Addison coach Pam Wilkins isn’t concerned with Donoho just yet.
“It’s hard to focus on (Donoho). We’ve got two matches first. We open against No. 10 Akron and if we beat them, we probably play the No. 4 team (Sacred Heart),” Wilkens said.
A total of four Winston County high schools earned a spot at the state tournament.
Lynn earned a berth at state after a second-place finish to Addison in the Super Regional Tournament in Huntsville. Meek placed fourth, also earning a spot.
In Class 3A, Winston County took the No. 4 spot to earn a return trip to state.
Addison (54-4) is back at state despite one of their youngest rosters in Wilkins’ tenure. The Bulldogs start a pair of freshmen (Ragen Yarbrough and Kristen Brewer) and there are just two seniors (Stora Gilliland and Chelsea Posey) on the squad.
“We are one of the younger teams there. I really like our athletic ability, but at the same time, we do make mistakes. I thought we made some ‘young’ mistakes at the Super Regional against Lynn. I still think we are one of the top teams, though. The girls are very excited. I’ve been trying to keep them focused,” Wilkins added.
Addison has been to the state tournament every year since 2002, winning five state championships (2003-05, 2009 and 2010) and finishing as state runner up another four times (2002, 2006, 2008 and 2011).
That’s a lot of hardware for the trophy case.
Donoho should know. The Falcons, winners of nine state titles (1979-80, 1987-88, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2011), ended a nine-year title drought with last year’s marathon 19-25, 25-21, 20-25, 25-20, 17-15 victory in the finals.
The Addison-Donoho rivalry spread into the rankings this season.
Donoho opened the season at No. 1 until being bumped by Addison midway through the season. The Bulldogs have held the top ranking since. Addison’s losses this season came against Hartselle, the No. 2 in 5A (twice), Plainview, the No. 2 team in 3A, and Brewer, the No. 8 team in 5A.
Both teams have to win two matches today if they want to meet in Thursday’s championship match set for 9 a.m.
Donoho (51-5) faces Meek (19-24) in the tournament opener. The winner takes on the winner of the Lynn (29-14) vs. Jefferson Christian (20-10) match in the semifinals at 5 p.m. On the other side of the bracket, Addison (54-4) takes on No. 10 Akron (17-6) at 11 a.m. The winner faces the winner of the Athens Bible-Sacred Heart match in the semifinals, also at 5 p.m. In Class 3A, No. 8 Winston County (36-22) opens the tournament against No. 1-ranked Bayside Academy (62-2) at 9 a.m. today.