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Isabella, Jemison will host area tournaments

With wins on Monday, local volleyball powers Isabella and Jemison both earned the right to host their respective area tournaments.

Both teams have served as hosts for as long as their coaches can remember (the host school used to rotate instead of being decided by the team with the best area record at the end of the season).

Jemison coach Leighsa Robinson knows her squads have hosted in all five of her seasons as coach.

The Panthers (26-8, 5-0 area) earned the right to do so again with a 3-1 (25-16, 26-24, 23-25, 25-17) win Monday over the area’s No. 2 seed team, Calera.

Jemison seniors Whitney Childress, Codi Mims and Dallis Vanderslice said they didn’t feel pressure to continue the streak of hosting area tournaments but instead are focused on the team’s postseason potential.

“We work well together,” Mims said, and Childress added “We have faith in each other to pull through.”

Vanderslice may have summed it up best when she said that, though they have been a part of successful squads in the past, “this has been the best season so far.”

The Class 4A, Area 7 tournament will begin at 3 p.m. on Oct. 13, with Calera, Bibb County High and Holt visiting Alton Cobb Gymnasium.

The other Jemison seniors recognized Monday between matches against Calera and Holt were Holly Barton and Tabatha Cork.

Robinson said the group’s willingness to work has set it apart.

“Our seniors have provided great leadership and played hard,” Robinson said. “They’ve been fun to coach.”

Jemison also defeated Holt 3-0 (25-11, 25-17, 25-20).

Against Calera, the seniors were productive as always: Vanderslice had 12 digs, Cork had eight kills and five digs, and Mims had six kills.

Emily Smithey posted nine digs and five aces. Kasi Wells contributed eight assists, seven kills, four digs and three aces. Shelby Griffin had four blocks.

Mustangs clinch home court

Isabella, meanwhile, defeated Thorsby and R.C. Hatch Monday to win area play in Class 2A Area 6.

The Mustangs beat Thorsby, 25-17, 25-23-25-10, and beat R.C. Hatch, 25-8, 25-5, 25-10.

Amber Wyatt finished with 33 kills and 12 aces in the two matches. Savannah Kissell had a career-high 11 kills in the match against R.C. Hatch. She finished with 15 kills and seven aces.

Marlee Hayes had 24 assists in the two matches, and Jessica Maciel and Heather Mason finished with 14 assists each.

Thorsby beat R.C. Hatch and will be seeded second in the area tournament, which will be held at Isabella next Monday, Oct. 12.

The Mustangs will be going for their 12th consecutive area championship.

The Isabella junior varsity and junior high teams also beat Thorsby on Monday. The JV won 25-14, 25-13 to move to 11-0 on the season.

Emily Brasher and Jordan Davenport had three kills each. Ashley Carlisle had seven aces.

The junior high came from behind to win, 23-25, 25-15, 15-13.