Kingwood volleyball takes home Elite Eight

The Kingwood varsity volleyball team took home the AISA Elite Eight preseason tournament Aug. 9 (FILE)

The Kingwood varsity volleyball team took home the AISA Elite Eight preseason tournament Aug. 9 (FILE)

By DREW GRANTHUM/Sports Editor

The Kingwood Christian Lions look to have gotten their season started off on the right foot, taking home the AISA Elite Eight preseason tournament, held Aug. 9 in Montgomery.

It was no easy road to the top, either. The tournament featured perennial AISA volleyball powers Edgewood, Lee-Scott, Cornerstone Christian, Southern Academy, Escambia, Bessemer and Kingwood.

The Lions started in round-robin format, which feature two one-game matches. The Lions took down Southern 25-7, before falling to Macon-East 25-21.

Once the teams were seeded, the Lions once again squared off with Southern, dispatching the Wildcats 25-20 and 25-9 in two sets.

From there, Kingwood faced tournament host Macon-East in the semifinals. This time, the Lions got the best of the Knights, 25-20 and 25-18.

In the finals, the Lions swept Bessemer Academy, 25-14 and 25-16 to take the preseason tourney crown.

Head coach Tony Boyd said he felt the loss to Macon-East was the difference maker in the tournament.

When we lost to Macon-East the first time, I said ‘We can beat (them),’” he said.

Boyd said the Knights have been a bit of a roadblock to success for the Lions in previous season, and the win gave his team confidence.

“Macon-East has had Kingwood’s number,” he said. “After that first game, my job was to keep the girls lax. They said ‘We can beat them.’ When they rise to the challenge, that’s the most rewarding part.”
Boyd said he really didn’t do too much by way of giving his team a pep talk headed into the rematch or even the final game.

“I just let them work it out,” he said. “They’ve matured. They’re real cool, calm. The energy level stayed the same. They rose to the challenge.”

Boyd said he felt the success from the tournament would carry over to the regular — and possibly even post — season.

“I think they’re excited,” he said. “I believe this (win) is a milestone. They’re mature and confident with each other. We’re going to compete…all the way through.”

The Lions kick off their season Aug. 13 at Cornerstone.