Briarwood comes up one match short of state tourney
Published 9:27 pm Thursday, October 25, 2018
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor
MONTGOMERY – It was a bitter-sweet day for the Briarwood Christian Lions volleyball team on Thursday, Oct. 25, as the squad was able to go 1-1 in the regional tournament at the Crampton Bowl Multiplex in Montgomery, before ultimately missing out on a trip to the state tournament in Birmingham next week.
Briarwood came into the tournament fresh off a runner-up finish to No. 2 ranked Ramsay in the area tournament and fared well in its opening match against the Marbury Bulldogs, but then ran out of steam in the second matchup of the day against Brew Tech. A recap from each game is below.
The Lions were forced to take on a solid Brew Tech team that had beaten Citronelle (25-9, 25-6, 25-3) not allowing double digits in any set to earn a clean sweep earlier in the day to advance.
In the first set, the Rams continued that stellar play jumping out to a 10-5 lead after the two teams were tied 5-5 in the early going.
You could see Brew Tech’s confidence growing, while Briarwood was scrambling trying to find any sort of momentum.
The Rams’ front line played so solidly that if they got a clean set, their kills were brutal and almost automatic points every time.
Briarwood eventually fought back into the opening set to trail by one point at 13-12, but Brew Tech turned the pressure back up with an 8-2 run to take a 21-14 lead.
The Lions fought back again to get as close as three points at 23-20, but the Rams picked up two points from a Lions’ error and another brutal kill to take the first set 25-20 and a 1-0 lead in the match.
Starting the second set, it looked as if Briarwood had put that 25-20 loss in the rearview mirror quickly.
The Lions got off to a solid 4-1 start, but then the Rams started to get clean looks again and reeled off 12-2 run to take a commanding 13-6 lead.
Briarwood got it as close as 16-10, outscoring Brew Tech 4-3 over the next few points, but the Rams then ended things on a 9-1 run to take the second set 25-12 and grab a 2-0 lead in the match.
Early in the third set, it was much of the same, as Brew Tech vaulted out to a 12-4 lead.
Briarwood then final started to string together some powerful kills and started to trim away at the lead, but the Rams were able to bounce back quickly with more lethal kills of their own.
After allowing Briarwood to get no closer than 12-6, Brew Tech ended the set on a 13-1 run to pick up a 25-10 set victory and 3-0 sweep in the match to sew up a trip to the Sweet 16.
Briarwood’s run was a special one this season with several young players, and the Lions should be back and improved next year with another chance to get to the state tournament.
Briarwood was able to advance to its matchup with Brewbaker Tech thanks to a sweep of Marbury in the first round of regionals just a few hours earlier.
The Lions were tested at times in the match, but ended up winning 3-0 (25-18, 25-9, 25-22) in what looked was a dominant effort, showing poise when in front and determination when behind.
While the match was dominated by Briarwood throughout, Marbury made some noise early on, including a 3-1 lead early in the opening set.
Briarwood bounced back from that deficit quickly with a 6-0 run to take a 7-3 lead before a back-and-forth set of runs took shape.
Marbury, eventually went on a 5-0 run to take a 15-13 lead, but the Lions then one a point and behind the serve of Audrey O’Brien were able to go on a 7-0 run to take a 21-15 lead. Briarwood then finished the set off shortly after on a kill from Maddie Vaughn for a 25-18 set victory and 1-0 match lead.
Early in the second set, it was a similar story, as Briarwood fell behind early 4-1.
This time, however, the Lions didn’t just bounce back, they went on 24-5 run to take complete control of the match with a 25-9 victory in the second set, which gave them a 2-0 lead overall.
Now one set away from advancing, Briarwood looked a little timid at times in the third set, which created for the most entertaining of the three.
Early in the set, neither team could take more than a two-point lead with the Lions holding the majority of those leads. Marbury, however, was fighting for its season and went on to eventually take a 20-16 lead.
That’s when the Lions decided they didn’t want to play another set, and looked like the team from the previous two sets, which led to 9-2 lead to close out the set and the match with a 25-22 third-set victory.
Photos available at Shelbycountyphotos.com