Same cast, different ending
Like it has every year since the county volleyball tournament’s renewal in 2003, the Isabella-Jemison match on Saturday decided the championship.
Unlike most years, however, this edition saw the Mustangs claim the title with a 25-19, 25-10 win.
“I thought our girls came in ready to play today,” Isabella coach Glen Graham said, though it would have been understood if the Mustangs had some doubts: Jemison had won four of the previous five county tournaments.
Like in 2003, the last time Isabella took home the plaque that is presented to the winner, the Mustangs entered the tournament this year with a sparkling record (23-5) and a lofty ranking (No. 8 in Class 2A).
But the Class 4A Panthers (19-9) gave up the plaque reluctantly.
Game 1 was tied at 13 before Jemison’s lone senior, Christie Hoffmeyer, hurt her knee after hitting the floor going after a ball. Hoffmeyer stayed in, but the Panthers lost the point and their momentum.
Isabella scored six straight points and went on to win the game.
In Game 2, RaeLynn Liveoak served for seven consecutive points to give her team a 15-5 lead, and Isabella won easily.
“I feel like this validates the Isabella volleyball program,” Graham said.
Both Isabella and Jemison entered the day’s final match unbeaten in round-robin tournament play. The champions defeated Thorsby (25-17, 25-12) and Chilton County High (25-13, 25-17). The runners-up topped the same teams 25-19, 25-19 and 19-25, 25-23, 15-13, respectively.
CCHS beat Thorsby 25-16, 25-17.
The tournament Most Valuable Player was Isabella’s Amber Wyatt, who had 30 kills and 6.5 blocks in three matches.
Other members of the all-tournament team were: CCHS’s Tylita Harrell (13 aces, four kills and three digs), Isabella’s Carissa Eiland (22 kills, six aces, five digs and five blocks) and Krysta Tyler (32 assists, 10 kills, six aces and six digs), Jemison’s Tabatha Cork (10 digs, nine kills and three assists) and Codi Mims (eight kills and five blocks) and Thorsby’s Brittany Maddox (nine digs, five kills and three blocks.