Helena volleyball team continues gaining experience
Published 4:00 pm Monday, September 27, 2021
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
HOOVER – The Helena Huskies entered the 2021 volleyball season as young and inexperienced at the varsity level as possibly anyone in the state, but the Huskies have taken that with a grain of salt and gone toe-to-toe with some of the best teams regardless.
That was no different during the week of Sept. 20 in which the Huskies not only had two big matches during the week, but also played in the difficult Heffstrong Tournament on Friday and Saturday.
Helena opened the week with a tough matchup against Northridge, one of the top teams in Class 6A, on Tuesday, Sept. 21.
The opening set was the storyline of the match with 58 total points played.
After battling to a 25-25 tie, neither team could create separation, which eventually led to a 28-28 tie.
That’s when Northridge was able to make the difference with two consecutive points won to take the set 30-28.
The Jaguars went on to win the second set 25-18 before Helena won the third set 25-22 to make it 2-1.
Northridge went on to close out the match one set later with a 25-21 win, but the Huskies battled throughout.
Freshman Addison Dockery led Helena with 13 kills in the match, while sophomore Haylie Diefenderfer and junior Allie Graydon both added eight kills. Kylie Scoles, another freshman, totaled 23 assists, while Presley Lively added 34 digs.
Two days later, Helena bounced back with a straight-set victory against Chilton County to improve to 3-1 in area play.
In the big win, Graydon led the way with 11 kills and four aces, while Addison Hines had six blocks and Lively had 24 digs.
That gave the Huskies some confidence going into the Heffstrong Tournament at the Finley Center in Hoover.
A tournament featuring some of the best teams in the state, the Huskies had to open pool play with matches against Class 5A No. 1 Bayside Academy and a strong out-of-state opponent Summit (Tennessee).
The Huskies lost to Bayside in straight sets to kick off the tournament with Dockery leading the way with four kills and Lively totaling 11 digs.
Helena, however, bounced back quickly with a win against Summit. The Huskies picked up the win behind eight kills from Graydon and 32 digs from Lively. Kayla Terrell added four kills in the victory.
That led into a difficult Saturday for the Huskies, who had to take on No. 9 Jasper, Shades Valley and Fairhope.
Against Jasper, Helena dropped the opening set 25-20 to fall into a 1-0 hole. The Huskies bounced back quickly with a 25-20 win in the second set to even the match, but they couldn’t replicate the success in the third set with Jasper finishing off the match with a 15-8 win.
Dockery totaled five kills, while Hines had two blocks and two aces. Graydon totaled 18 digs and Katie Gutierrez had nine assists.
Following that loss, Helena bounced back quickly with a win against Shades Valley to remain alive in the tournament thanks to another consistent effort from Dockery with three kills, five aces and two blocks.
Helena then got a crack at Fairhope, but the Huskies couldn’t find a rhythm and dropped the match to end the tournament. Graydon, Hines and Dockery all had three kills in the loss.
Helena is now 18-19 on the season.