Walker looks to add to historic volleyball season
by Johnathan Bentley
Oct 29, 2013 | 1458 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Walker’s Molly Rowe (11) goes up for a block during the Vikings’ match against East Limestone at the North Super-Regional Tournament. Walker finished fourth at the event, earning a spot in the Elite Eight State Tournament for the first time. No. 8 Walker takes on No. 1 St. Paul’s at 3 p.m. today at the Birmingham CrossPlex. Walker is one of four area teams to earn a spot at state. Addison, Meek and Winston County also open play today.
Walker’s Molly Rowe (11) goes up for a block during the Vikings’ match against East Limestone at the North Super-Regional Tournament. Walker finished fourth at the event, earning a spot in the Elite Eight State Tournament for the first time. No. 8 Walker takes on No. 1 St. Paul’s at 3 p.m. today at the Birmingham CrossPlex. Walker is one of four area teams to earn a spot at state. Addison, Meek and Winston County also open play today.
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Walker has already made school history.

Now the Vikings look to add another chapter starting at the Elite Eight State Volleyball Tournament today at the Birmingham CrossPlex.

Eighth-ranked Walker opens the tournament with one of the Class 5A favorites — No. 1-ranked St. Paul’s at 3 p.m.

A total of four area teams begin play at the state tournament today. Addison, Meek and Winston County start their quests for a title as well.

Walker is in the Elite Eight State Tournament for the first time in school history under third-year coach Glenda Wright, who is no stranger to the event. Wright led Hazel Green to six state championships during a 30-plus year career with the Trojans.

At Walker, Wright and assistant coach Karen Atkins have teamed up to make the Vikings a contender. The Vikings have already put together their best ever season with a school record in wins as well as an area championship.

Walker (44-24) is coming off a fourth-place finish at the North Super-Regional Tournament in Huntsville over the weekend. The Vikings won their first two matches and knocked off No. 7 Muscle Shoals in an elimination match. Losses to No. 3 Brewer and No. 4 John Carroll followed.

St. Paul’s (44-15) cruised through the South Super-Regional Tournament, going a perfect 4-0. The Saints have plenty of history on their side with a total of 13 state championships, including five of the last seven.

The Walker-St. Paul’s winner takes on the Brookwood-Hartselle winner at 7 p.m. in the semifinals.

The Class 5A championship match is set for 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

Members of Walker’s team are: Marlee Spencer, Carleigh Taylor, Molly Rowe, JoLee Dobbs, Madisyn Hood, Sidney Cooper, Sara Woodley, Miranda Bruce, Annie Jane Crump, Anna Claire Harris, Mary Kate Harrell, Bonnie Sanders and Sarah McMillon.

Class 1A

Addison opened the season as the odd-on favorite to win the Class 1A state championship.

Nothing has changed.

Top-ranked Addison (52-5) hasn’t lost a match to a Class 1A team this season, but  the Bulldogs will have to go through some of the top teams if they are to win their first state title since 2010.

Addison has finished as the Class 1A state runner up behind Donoho each of the last two years.

The Bulldogs’ open the state tournament against Winterboro (17-9). A win would put Addison up against either No. 3 St. Luke’s or No. 4 Spring Garden in the semifinals.

“Usually you have one or two really good teams in 1A. It seems like there are more than one or two this year,” Addison coach Pam Wilkins said.

No. 2 Donoho, the two-time defending state champion, is on the opposite side of the bracket.

Wilkins’ team won the opening set in the championship match last season only to drop three in a row to the Falcons.

“We’ve talked about that match a lot. We were still a young team then,” Wilkins said. “We won the first game and we had a lead in the second game, but we lost 26-24. After that, we didn’t play aggressive and it got in our heads. We didn’t overcome that. I’m hoping this year is a little different.”

Addison is going after its sixth state championship. The Bulldogs won titles in 2003-05 and 2009-10. Donoho has won 10 championships.

Addison has four starters returning from last year’s team: Kayla Robinson, Jessy Taylor, Summer Hinton and Holly Posey.  Along with those four, members of the team are: Sarra Martin, Kayren Ballard, Katie Russell, Carly Westmoreland, Jessica Robinson, Callie Brewer, Kelsey Denson, Lauren Cutcher and Jessica Benton.

Meek is back at the Elite Eight State Tournament for the second straight season under coach Melissa Cleghorn.

The fifth-ranked Tigers, who finished as the North Super-Regional runner up to Addison, take on No. 9 Jefferson Christian (24-13) in their opener at 3 p.m.

Meek (38-21) brings an extremely young squad into the tournament. The Tigers have no seniors and three juniors on the team.

Team members are: Autumn Cunningham, Jordan Waldrep, Kelsy Kilpatrick, Rebekah Wolfe, Morgan Hudson, Ragen Yarbrough, Sadie Brock, Katherine Morgan, Jayden Waldrop, Mallary Guthrie, Loren Abercrombie and Alexandria Peek.

Class 3A

Winston County has been known for its volleyball prowess for more than a decade.

The Yellow Jackets are back at the state tournament again this season after placing second in the North Super-Regional Tournament to No. 3 Madison Academy. Winston County (40-14), defeated both No. 8 Good Hope and No. 4 West Morgan en route to earning a spot in Birmingham.

The Yellow Jackets open the tournament today at 11 a.m. against Northside (19-4). Both No. 1 Bayside Academy and No. 2 Danville are on the same side of the bracket and play each other in a first-round match.

The Winston County-Northside winner faces the Danville-Bayside Academy winner at 5 p.m. today. The championship match is set for 9 a.m. on Thursday.

Bayside Academy is one of the top programs in the state. The Admirals (54-8) have won 21 state titles including the last 11 in a row. Since 1998, only the 2001 team didn’t win a title.

Winston County has a veteran squad with eight seniors. Members of the team are: Savanna Tidwell, Asilynn DeSilvey, Ashley Brimer, Cameron Bonds, Ashlyn Steele, MaKayla Bullock, Rachel Gilbreath, Madison Williams, Andrea Jacques, Alex Glenn, Brook Garrison, Adrian Fouts and Marrnae Keeton.