Eagles sweep into Elite Eight

Oak Mountain High School senior Lauren Dasher spikes the ball in the Eagles' sweep of Hewitt-Trussville in an Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A sub-state match Oct. 21. (Contributed/Barry Clemmons)

By DAVIS POTTER / Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY — When Tammy Richardson came out of retirement to take the job as Oak Mountain High School’s head volleyball coach prior to the 2009 season, she didn’t plan on settling for mediocrity.

She wanted to win another state title.

Richardson and her Oak Mountain team moved one step closer to that goal after sweeping Hewitt-Trussville, 25-15, 25-23, 25-18, in Match 5 of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A sub-state playoffs at the Oak Mountain High School gymnasium Oct. 21.

With the win, the Eagles (55-18) advanced to next week’s Elite Eight state tournament in Pelham — the team’s second consecutive Elite Eight appearance under Richardson.

“That’s what my daddy taught me — if you’re going to do something, do it right,” said Richardson, who is looking for her third Class 6A state championship as a coach. “You do it to win the state championship, and that’s what I do.”

Junior Sara Goodwin led the Eagles with 11 kills and eight digs. Lauren Dasher also had 11 kills. Emily Cosgrove added 10 kills, two digs and three service aces while Hannah Beach got on the stat sheet with eight digs.

Oak Mountain didn’t seem to miss a beat after juggling its lineup with the absence of starting outside hitter Samantha Skinner, who was held out of the match because of an illness.

Richardson said her players adjusted well on the fly.

“We ran a new defense and three rotations and a different defense and another three rotations,” Richardson said. “They didn’t freak out because of that. They did well with it.”

The Eagles stormed out to a 9-3 lead and never looked back to capture the first set of the match. Hewitt-Trussville battled through the second set and tied the score at 19, but the Eagles outscored the Huskies 6-4 down the stretch to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.

Oak Mountain started fast yet again in the third and final set, opening up with an early 5-1 lead. Hewitt-Trussville pulled within three points at 14-11 at the midway point, but the Huskies couldn’t get any closer. The Eagles went on an 11-7 run to win the match and prolong their season.

“It’s the thing that you work for,” Richardson said. “It’s just awesome.”

The Eagles will play Daphne (28-21) in the state quarterfinals Oct. 27 at 12:30 p.m. at the Pelham Civic Complex.