Patriots earn first state volleyball tournament berth

For the first time in school history, Chilton Christian Academy’s varsity volleyball team has made the state playoffs.

Coach Marilyn Jones said the achievement had been in the works for some time.

“It’s been in the making for seven years,” she said. “I’ve coached two of my seniors since they were in sixth grade. We’ve been building since.”

Two seniors, Destiny Richards and Rebekah Kirkland, have brought together a relatively young team to third in the area standings, clinching the Patriots a trip to Oxford.

“Destiny is a really good defender,” Jones said. “She gets the dynamic of the team going. She gets the team fired up.”

Jones had equal praise for Kirkland’s leadership as well.

“She has just improved over the summer [greatly],” she said.

Jones praised more players, including Jessice Standifer, Mary’l Smitherman and Tory Hodges for their ability to generate team chemistry.

Despite only posting a 3-7 overall record, Jones said she felt confident heading into the tournament.

“The fact that this side [of the conference] is strong competition [gives us a good feeling],” she said. “These teams are a lot stronger than what we will face.”

The Patriots will enter an invitational tournament before heading to state, to give them a feel for tournament play before taking on the best in ACEAA on Oct. 12-13.

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