Eagles claim area volleyball title

Oak Mountain High School senior Chelsea Payne sets up a teammate for a kill in the Eagles' win over Hoover in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A, Area 10 tournament championship match Oct. 12. (Reporter Photo/Wesley Hallman)

By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor

NORTH SHELBY – The Oak Mountain High School Eagles chanted “three sets” as they broke team huddles on their home court during the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A, Area 10 volleyball tournament championship match Oct. 12.

It took longer than expected, but the Eagles finally won the three sets they needed to claim the Class 6A, Area 10 tournament championship after surviving a 23-25, 25-13, 23-25, 25-12, 15-10 battle against Hoover in the tournament final.

“It was a wake-up call,” said Oak Mountain coach Tammy Richardson. “I think we came out flat and we didn’t have a lot of energy. We weren’t mentally prepared.”

The Eagles answered Hoover after dropping the first and third games by winning the second and fourth games before clinching the match in the fifth game.

Senior outside hitter Samantha Skinner, who was named the Class 6A, Area 10 tournament co-most valuable player along with teammate Chelsea Payne, led the Eagles with 20 kills in the championship match.

The University of Alabama commitment added 14 digs, four service aces and two blocks in the win.

Payne, who set her teammates up with plenty of scoring opportunities, recorded a team-high 42 assists. Payne added 10 digs, two kills and two service aces.

Lauren Dasher, who was also named to the all-tournament team, finished with five kills and five blocks. Emily Cosgrove chipped in 11 kills and five blocks.

Hannah Beach registered seven kills and eight digs. Sara Goodwin chipped in four kills and eight digs. Marisa Reese recorded a team-high 14 digs in the championship match.

Oak Mountain (51-18) will host a Class 6A region tournament Oct. 16. The Eagles will face Mountain Brook in the quarterfinals of the region tournament at 10 a.m. The semifinals are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. The consolation game is set for 2:45 p.m. and the championship game will begin at 4 p.m.

Richardson said the area tournament will help the Eagles prepare for the region tournament, where they will face some of the top Class 6A teams in the state.

“It was a pressure situation,” Richardson said. “It could have gone either way. We were fortunate.”

Thompson High School sophomore Katie Guiser prepares for an attack in the Warriors' loss Oct. 12 to host Oak Mountain in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A, Area 10 tournament. (Reporter Photo/Wesley Hallman)

The Eagles defeated Thompson 25-17, 25-15, 25-15 in the Class 6A, Area 10 tournament semifinals.

Skinner led Oak Mountain with 15 kills. Cosgrove added seven kills, three digs and a service ace. Dasher contributed five kills.

Beach finished with four digs and three service aces. Payne registered a team-high 26 assists to go along with three digs.

Thompson was led by junior Hailey Schatz, who was named to the all-tournament team. Individual statistics for Thompson players were not available following the semifinal match.

Pelham High School junior Sydney Days sets up a teammate in the Panthers' loss to Hoover in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A, Area 10 tournament semifinals Oct. 12 at Oak Mountain High School. (Reporter Photo/Wesley Hallman)

Pelham fell 17-25, 20-25, 16-25 to Hoover in the Class 6A, Area 10 semifinals.

Porsha Tolbert led the Panthers (29-25) with eight kills.

Dana Allen recorded a team-high 10 digs. Bradleigh Smith finished with two blocks. Justina Barrow recorded one service ace.

Sydney Days, who was named to the all-tournament team, tallied a team-high 13 assists.