Westminster Oak Mountain wins area championship

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor 

BIRMINGHAM – The Westminster at Oak Mountain Knights continued an impressive season with a sweep of Jefferson Christian Academy in the Class 1A, Area 8 tournament championship on Monday, Oct. 21.

With the win, the Knights locked up a higher seed at regionals and look poised to make another trip to the state tournament where redemption is on their mind after falling in the first round each of the last two years.

After a tight battle in the opening set saw Westminster squeak out a 25-21 victory, the Knights left nothing to chance in the final two sets against JCA winning 25-7 and 25-15 to cement the area tournament championship in straight sets.

The opening set was concerning for a while, however.

After taking a 3-0 lead, Westminster handed the ball to Jefferson Christian in good shape. But the Eagles then went on to win seven consecutive service points to eventually take an early 8-3 advantage.

The match went back and forth for the next few points with the Knights pulling closer, before eventually tying it at 12-12. After falling behind again at 14-12, Westminster battled back to take a 15-14 lead, and this time it was for good.

The Knights went on to win three service points in their final two opportunities on serve late in the match to close out the 25-21 first-set victory.

Having warmed up and gained momentum later in the first set, Westminster came out in the second set and looked more confident. The Knights were able to win 11 service points through their first three serve opportunities which not only gave them several points, but kept JCA from regaining serve.

That eventually put Westminster in front 14-2, and the Knights never looked back.

After gaining back serve up 19-7, Westminster won the final six points in a row to complete a 25-7 set win and take a 2-0 lead in the championship match.

With all of the confidence, the Knights’ dominant showing continued in the third set as they looked to close out the sweep.

Behind two more strong service games, they were able to make that come to fruition. Westminster jumped out to a 7-0 lead, taking advantage of getting the first serve, and never looked back.

The real turning point came after JCA had battled back to take a 14-12 lead thanks to a combined eight service points won between two different opportunities.

Westminster, however, felt the momentum starting to slowly shift and squashed it in a hurry. After gaining serve back down 14-13, the Knights put together a dominant service game winning eight points in a row to take a 21-14 lead, which ultimately put the match away.

Westminster allowed just one more point before closing the match out on its next service game to claim the area tournament championship.