Winston County became the ninth team to fall short on Thursday.
The Lady Yellow Jackets came within three points of ending Bayside’s reign only to lose a five-set match that lasted nearly two hours at the Pelham Civic Complex.
Bayside Academy won the match 26-24, 18-25, 25-20, 15-25, 15-12, claiming its ninth straight state championship and 12th in the last 13 years.
Winston County (64-7) held a slim 12-11 lead in the fifth and deciding set. Bayside coach Ann Schilling called a timeout to settle her team. From there, the Lady Admirals won four straight points to close out the Lady Yellow Jackets, who dropped to the floor after a Daniels’ spike sailed out of bounds.
“We may not have finished first, but I have a team of champions,” Winston County coach Bobby Daniels said. “I’m disappointed that we lost, but I’m full or pride because of the way the girls performed. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
The match was a back-and-forth contest throughout.
Bayside (56-14) earned a narrow win the first set by taking the last two points after the teams were deadlocked at 24-24. Winston County cruised in the second set only to have Bayside win the third set by rallying late to break a 19-19 tie.
Winston County dominated the fourth set and led by as many as six points in the fifth set before Bayside battled back.
“The match was everything I expected. I’d probably say that was the most competitive and most intense match I’ve seen. I knew Bayside would be tough because you don’t win all the championships they’ve won without being competitive. I also knew my girls would compete,” Daniels said.
“When you lose a match like we lost, it just hurts. Our girls were heartbroken. The old saying is: ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ We’ve got some unfinished business. We are going to work hard to have the same opportunity next year and see if we can come out on top.”
Winston County’s Kryssi Daniels led all players in the match with 25 kills. She also added four blocks and 17 digs. Meagan Tidwell added nine kills and 13 digs, Jacklyn Martin had eight kills and 14 digs and setter Holly Posey managed 36 assists and 11 digs.
Both Daniels and Posey made the All-Tournament Team.
For Bayside, tourney MVP Deshotel recorded 19 kills and 13 blocks. Virginia Pittman also and 14 kills and five blocks, senior Maggie Neimeyer chipped in eight kills, four blocks, 10 digs. Victoria Smith had 46 digs and setter Sydney Chandler recorded 42 assists.
Bayside survived a pair of five-set matches in the tournament, beating Plainview in five sets in the state tournament opener.
Winston County dropped its first set in the opener against Trinity, but won six straight sets against Trinity and Ashville to advance to Thursday’s championship match.
Both teams have just one senior. Winston County’s Tidwell and Bayside’s Neimeyer were the only seniors in the match.
The loss gave Winston County its second runner-up finish. The Lady Yellow Jackets also dropped a five-set decision to Bayside Academy in the 2007 championship match. That year Winston County won the first two sets only to lose three in a row. Winston County won the Class 3A title in 2001.
Winston County was involved in one of two matches that went five sets on Thursday.
Cottage Hill Christian (42-14) knocked off Pleasant Valley in five sets in Class 2A.
Other state champs were: Addison (59-3) in Class 1A; Guntersville (57-4) in Class 4A; St. Paul’s (45-14) in Class 5A and Huntsville (47-5) in Class 6A.