Isabella on to state with Thursday’s win

Published 4:32 pm Thursday, October 20, 2011

Kinslee Mims (1) and her Isabella teammates celebrate Thursday's sub-state win over Elba.

Isabella’s volleyball team earned its third consecutive appearance in the Elite 8 state tournament with Thursday’s 3-0 sub-state win over Elba.

Expectations for the Mustangs might have been lower this year—at least from those not associated with the program—after seven seniors were lost off last year’s team.

But IHS came out of the gate strong, winning their first 10 matches, and ended strong, winning five consecutive playoff matches without dropping a single set.

On Thursday, the hosts showed their advantage at the net early and won the first set, 25-16.

A sloppily played second set also ended with a 25-16 score in favor of IHS.

The Mustangs were ahead comfortably in the third set when coach Glen Graham began substituting generously.

The ensuing celebration included several players from some of Isabella’s first volleyball teams.

Graham was sure to point out in the locker room after the match that this group of Mustangs is the school’s first to compete in the state tournament three straight years.

“What an honor it is,” Graham said. “It’s another opportunity for us.”

Savannah Kissel led all Isabella attackers with 11 kills and four aces, making some history of her own. Kissel is now tied for Isabella’s single-season ace record.

Both Landy Griffith and Khadijah Craig recorded seven kills and three aces. Craig also had three blocks.

Hayden Compton chipped in five kills and three blocks, and Heather Posey had 22 assists.

Allison Mims paced the IHS defense with seven digs.

Isabella’s Elite 8 experience will begin at 8 a.m. on Oct. 26 at the Pelham Civic Complex against an opponent that was yet to be determined at press time.