Chelsea opens volleyball season with win against Vestavia

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

CHELSEA – Heading into their season opener with Vestavia Hills on Thursday, Aug. 19, the Chelsea volleyball team had gotten plenty of offseason praise for its play in summer competition, but with the loss of several key players and their head coach, there was still much to prove.

The Hornets did just that against the Class 7A Rebels by picking up a 3-1 (25-10, 25-23, 14-25, 25-23) victory to kick-start their season.

I the opening set, Chelsea didn’t blink en route to an impressive early lead.

The Hornets jumped out to a 10-5 lead early in the set before eventually extending it to 17-8 with a 7-3 run. From there, Vestavia was only able to win two points, while Chelsea went on to win eight of the next 10 to claim a 15-point win in the opening set.

Early in the second set, it looked as if the Hornets may be on their way to smooth sailing after jumping out to an 8-2 lead, but the Rebels started to feel more comfortable in their first match of the season.

Behind a 16-9 run, the Rebels came from behind and took their first lead at 18-17 in the second set.

That led to a back-and-forth nail biter between the two teams with the Rebels looking to avoid a 2-0 hole. The two eventually battled to a 23-23 tie, but it was Chelsea who was able to come out on top by winning the next two points to take a 2-0 lead in the match.

Vestavia, however, had started to get in a rhythm and that carried over to the third set.

Like Chelsea in the opening set, the Rebels came out and dominated the third set from start to finish, leading by as many as nine throughout, eventually winning it 25-14 to make the overall score 2-1.

The Hornets responded in the fourth set by jumping out to the early lead. It was a tight battle early in the set, but Chelsea eventually started to create some separation with a six-point lead at 16-10.

Vestavia then flipped a switch with the match on the line.

Facing four match points at 24-19, the Rebels won the next four points in a row to draw within one point at 24-23.

The comeback, however, wasn’t meant to be.

Chelsea was able to overcome some slight loss of confidence to bounce back and win the final point for a 3-1 opening-night victory against the Rebels.