Oak Mountain wins senior night

By GRAHAM CARR / Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY-Oak Mountain defeated Spain Park 3-0 (25-20, 25-15, 26-24) on Oct. 11 to give the Eagles senior night victory.

Oak Mountain coach Lance Woods said the emotion from the night may have caused his team to play tighter than he would have liked.

“We were just trying to survive,” Woods said. “Senior night is a big distraction for us.”

The four Eagle seniors honored were Hannah Kowal, Amy Ritenour , Rosemary Wendal and Emily Cosgrove.  During their career at Oak Mountain, the Eagles have a record of 162-53 and have lost only twice on their home court.

Wendal and Ritenour admitted to having excitement for their last regular season game at home, but they were proud of how the Eagles played.

“Our team came together at the end and we just fought like it was our last game to ever play,” Wendal said.

“It was a great game,” Ritenour said. “Especially since it was our last one at home. It was good that we won so now we get to host area.”

Kowal saw only limited action as she tries to recover from an injury before next week’s area tournament, but her fellow seniors stepped up in her absence. Cosgrove had 14 kills, 11 digs and four blocks while Ritenour had 14 digs and three aces. Wendal added 14 assists.  Junior Hannah Beach chipped in 12 kills, 12 assists, and three blocks for the Eagles.

After trailing 5-2, Spain Park fought back to tie the first set at 6.  Then with the score tied at 10, the Jaguars put together a 9-3 run to take a commanding 19-13 lead.   But Oak Mountain thwarted Spain Parks hopes by finishing the set on a 12-1 run to win 25-20.

The Eagles never trailed set two by jumping to a 7-4 lead. Oak Mountain did not let Spain Park get any closer than three the rest of the way to win 25-15.

Spain Park looked poised to send the match to a fourth set having leads of 12-4 and 20-9 , but the Eagles were not finished as they used a 11-1 run to close the gap to 21-20.  Oak Mountain finally caught the Jaguars at 24 and the Eagles scored the last two points to complete the sweep.

Spain Park coach Paula Dill was disappointed that her team could not hold onto leads.

“We gave up too big of runs when we did give up a run,” Spain Park coach Paula Dill said. “We need to focus on finishing-winning a set, winning a match.  We just gave up too many runs at crucial times in order to do that tonight.”