The Lady Lions defeated Monroe College Sunday to capture their 10th straight ACCC title.
HANCEVILLE — Wallace State volleyball’s postseason dominance has now covered an entire decade. The top-seeded Lions went undefeated in the Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC)/District L/M Championship at Tom Drake Coliseum over the weekend, winning their 10th consecutive conference tournament title and the inaugural district championship with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Monroe College (New York).
Wallace State (33-7) registered one tournament victory over Snead State and a pair against Monroe College, continuing an impressive streak that began when the current Wallace State players were in elementary school.
“We haven’t lost a match on our home court all season and we didn’t want that to change. It was the last match for some of us on this court,” said sophomore Lexie Riggins, who was named the tournament MVP for the second consecutive season. “It feels great to be in this position. Awards come after wins, and I wouldn’t be in this position without my great teammates and coach Daniel. We knew we would have to earn every point against Monroe. Our mental toughness was the difference.”
Riggins, a 5-foot-11 middle hitter from Chelsea, finished the tournament with 34 kills and 10 digs, providing a steady presence on the front row all weekend.
Riggins becomes the first Wallace State player to earn MVP honors in consecutive seasons during the 10-year championship march. She was also named an All-ACCC 1st-team member for her regular season work.
“For two years, Lexie has been amazing. It’s not all about the kills she racks up. She’s a leader across the board. She’s mature and a straight-A student, embodying everything you would want a student-athlete to be. She’s special,” Daniel said.
Wallace State, which has won 14 consecutive matches, swept Snead State (25-17, 25-22, 25-14) in its tournament opener.
One alteration to this season’s tournament was the inclusion of Monroe College, representing NJCAA Region 15 from the Bronx, N.Y.
Wallace State and Monroe College squared off in a pair of tight matches. In Saturday’s match vs. the Mustangs, Wallace State prevailed 26-24, 25-18, 18-25, 25-20, sending the Lions to Sunday’s title match.
Monroe College eliminated Lawson State on Sunday morning, penciling in a date with Wallace State in the finals.
Daniel’s bunch appeared well on its way to a championship-match sweep on Sunday, winning the first two sets, 25-23, 25-18. Monroe College didn’t leave Hanceville quietly, rallying with two set wins of its own. In the fifth and decisive set, Wallace State zoomed out a 7-2 advantage. Monroe College rallied again, eventually tying the match at 12-all. The Lions had the final surge and closed it out on a McKenzie Boland serve, winning 15-13.
“The quality of the play in the matches with Monroe was amazing. Monroe played very well, and the crowd was definitely into it. Defensively we couldn’t get anything past them. They are so big and physical at the net. Our team stepped up at crucial points. We got down and suddenly our energy kicked back in. I was proud of our resilience,” Daniel said. “We seemed to come in with an edge this weekend. This team didn’t want to be one to break the streak.”
Each championship team has written its own unique story over the past decade and this one is no different.
“It’s truly amazing to think we’ve won 10 titles in a row. You watch each team play and realize how much it means to them to continue this streak. It’s something we take a lot of pride in,” Daniel said.
Daniel was named the District L/M Coach of the Year.
Wallace State’s McKenzie Boland, Maya Jones and Kaitlyn Doyle were each named to All-Tournament team. Boland and Jones were also 2nd-team All-ACCC selections for their regular season efforts.
Boland, a sophomore transfer, finished with 116 assists and 26 digs in the tournament.
“It’s exciting to be a part of this team and the championship legacy. Winning is important here,” said Boland, the ACCC leader in assists. “We poured out all of the sweat and blood we could in the tournament. We definitely wanted it.”
Jones, a Hoover native, had 26 kills and eight digs in the tournament, and Doyle finished with 32 kills and nine digs.
Wallace State libero Alexis Snow registered 71 digs among the three matches, Courtlyn Barber finished with 31 digs and 18 kills, Karlee Hale had 20 kills, Karmahn Hall added 37 digs and Madison Turner finished with 25 digs.
Riggins, Jones, Barber, Alex Wiggins and Katie Edwards are the sophomores who won their second ACCC championships on Sunday. Boland and Turner won their first.
Doyle, Snow, Hale, Hall, Kate Kent, Madison Rhodes, Kaden Edenfield, Jordan Hollis, Kayla Thomas and Genesis Taylor are the freshman winning their first collegiate conference title.
With the victory, Wallace State advances to the NJCAA Division I volleyball national tournament to be held in Hutchinson, Kan., on Nov. 15-17. It will mark the Lions 10th consecutive national tournament appearance.
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