Oak Mountain’s season comes to an end in Final 4

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

BIRMINGHAM–The Oak Mountain Eagles volleyball team fell short of their goal at winning a 7A state championship, but the 2017 season will be one that will be remembered for a long time after an amazing run to the Final 4.

Oak Mountain took on the North No. 1 seed Bob Jones in the semifinals of the AHSAA 7A State Tournament and came up short losing in straight sets 23-25, 19-25 and 24-26.

All three sets were highly competitive but Bob Jones made just a few more plays than the Eagles to advance in the tournament.

Oak Mountain fought back in the third set and were ever so close to pushing the match to a fourth set but it wasn’t meant to be.

“We definitely had our chances,” Oak Mountain head coach Tien Le said. “The first set we were up 22-18 and just made a couple of mental errors that cost us that first set that should’ve been ours and that made a huge difference in the second set. I’m just proud of my kids because in the third set I want to say we were down 18-12 and came back and naturally had a swing for a set.”

The Eagles roster, which is loaded with seniors, without question helped them make a deep run in the postseason to the Final 4 but the emotions ran high after the tough loss to Bob Jones.

After reminding the girls of how far they’ve come and how much they’ve accomplished, it was still hard for Le to hold back his own emotions after discussing the season and the senior class.

“The biggest thing for me and why I coach is watching the kids grow,” Le said. “For this group, for us to fight back down 18-12 and we’ve talked through the years, that shows a lot of character and a lot of maturity. I think all the youngsters know how hard they’ve been working and how hard they’ve been trying to become better. Even though we fell a little short, I hope all the youngsters know that that doesn’t mean failure. There are other measuring sticks of success.”

Kaitlyn Lund and Torie Penkers led Oak Mountain with 10 and 9 kills, respectively. Lund also recorded 12 blocks and Maddie Moss finished with 18 assists for the Eagles.

Oak Mountain finished the season with an overall record of 49-9.

Photos available at www.shelbycountyphotos.com