Jemison wins county volleyball tournament
By Brandon Sumrall | Special to the Advertiser
With wins over Thorsby (25-15, 25-13) and Isabella (19-25, 25-18, 15-10), the Jemison Panthers took home the first-place trophy Saturday and the title of 2015 Volleyball County Tournament champions.
With a sweep over Thorsby in the day’s first match, the Panthers were afforded the opportunity to sit out a match as Isabella took on Chilton County High School.
Isabella easily won Set 1 (25-16), but CCHS made them earn Set 2, 25-23, to advance to the finals.
The Mustangs kept the momentum going into the first set of the championship match against the Panthers and jumped out to an early 5-1 lead behind the serving of Hailey Underwood.
With the score at 14-8 in favor of the Mustangs, a four-point Isabella run behind the serving of Sophia Underwood looked as if it might just put Set 1 out of reach at 18-8, but the Panthers weren’t quite ready to give in.
Down 12 points and with the Mustangs just two points away from closing out the first set, Leslie Hague took over serving duties for the Panthers and led a nine-point Jemison run.
However, the Mustangs finally broke the serve, and with the score at 24-19, a ball hit out of bounds by the Panthers brought the first set to a close.
Set 2 started much the same way as the first set, but this time the Panthers got the early kick start behind a five-point run on the serving of Kelsey Lowery for an early 8-2 lead.
The Mustangs battled throughout the set but were never able to cut into the lead created during the early Jemison run, and with the score at 24-18, a Cassani Steele kill ended the set and tied the match at one set apiece.
With the match going to a third and final set, Hague once again came through for the Panthers from the serving position to lead a four-point Jemison run to give the Panthers an early 6-1 lead.
Caley Booth served through a three-point run for the Mustangs to draw Isabella to within two points of the lead at 8-6, but another three-point run behind the serving of Hannah Robinson extended to JHS lead to 11-7.
The Mustangs again cut into the Panthers’ lead to bring the score to 12-10, but a kill by Tayor Ray gave the serving duties back to Jemison to set up a three-point run to close out Set 3 at 15-10 while giving Jemison the tournament championship.
Steele, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, led the Panthers with 16 kills, while Hague added 16 serve points for Jemison.
Jayda Jones led the Mustangs with seven kills, two assists and eight digs; while Hailey Underwood added four kills, seven assists and five digs for Isabella.