Isabella volleyball wins 19th area title

Published 4:50 pm Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The Isabella Mustangs won their 19th volleyball area title after sweeping the Maplesville Red Devils in straight sets 25-11, 25-11, 25-10 during the Area 5-1A championship on Oct. 23.

“The area championship is one of our goals that we set every year,” Isabella head coach Glen Graham said.

It was smooth sailing for the host Mustangs (23-8, 6-0) in the tournament. Isabella won all six sets that it played by an average margin of victory of 14 points.

Isabella defeated Autaugaville in the semifinals, while the Red Devils defeated Billingsley.

Both Isabella and Maplesville secured a trip to the Class 1A South Super Regionals, as region champion and runner-up respectively.

The Maplesville Red Devils finished runner-up and clinched a spot in the super regionals. (Photo by Anthony Richards)

The Mustangs were riding a wave of momentum entering the area tournament after defeating No. 9 Westminster-Oak Mountain on Oct. 18.

“Our last two weeks have been pretty good volleyball, and it’s coming together at the right time,” Graham said. “It’s all about getting consistent play. That starts with the mental part of the game and keeping them focused on the big picture.”

This year’s Isabella squad had several new faces playing new positions and larger roles in the makeup of the team.

“We had to refocus, because we lost such great players from last year,” Isabella senior Elizabeth Alstott said. “We had to get the mindset that we could do it this year.”

There were times during the season where the Mustangs experienced some growing pains due to the transition and moving pieces, but in the end they clinched another trip to the super regionals.

“Our sign in the locker room says that ‘tradition never graduates,’” Graham said. “These girls doubted themselves early in the season, but I believed in them, and I knew of the things that they are capable of doing. I’ve seen them grow up.”

Alstott stood out with her performance and was named MVP of the area tournament.

“I feel like I really picked it up tonight,” Alstott said. “When we beat Westminster, I really saw us grow as a team. “We’re ready to keep advancing and see how far we can go [in the playoffs].”

She was one of the players that moved positions this season. She made the transition from middle blocker to outside hitter when Noelle Fjeldstad missed time due to injury.

As a result, Alstott leads the team with more than 200 kills.

“She’s gotten a lot more consistent on hitting the ball,” Graham said.

Isabella’s seniors came to play in a big way during the area tournament. Alstott had 16 kills during the area tournament, while Katelyn Talley had 20 assists and eight aces and Noelle Fjeldstad had seven digs.