PREP VOLLEYBALL: West Point falls to Bayside Academy to finish 5A runner-up

The West Point Lady Warriors fell to Bayside Academy in this year’s State Championship Match to finish as 5A runners up. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – After making it to the AHSAA State Volleyball Tournament for the first time in school history and defeating Elberta and Alexandria in the elite eight and final four, West Point’s historic postseason run came to an end at the hands of Bayside Academy in the 5A State Championship Match. Wednesday night’s victory was the 19th straight state championship won by the Lady Admirals. The Lady Warriors finished as the runners-up in Class 5A in their first ever state tournament appearance, capping off their memorable season with a record of 50-16. West Point collected a Cullman County Championship, a North Regional Championship and a red map this fall.

After the match, Lady Warriors Head Coach Regina Jones was proud not only of the way her team continued to compete in Wednesday’s match but for how they’ve performed all season.

“Every year we’ve been pushing to get to this level and this team has just really worked hard and we were determined that if they let us keep playing that was our goal. To make it as far as we could, and we accomplished that goal,” Jones said. “We didn’t get the biggest trophy, but we accomplished a lot, made history and I just couldn’t be prouder of them.”

The Lady Warriors were facing a school that just collected its national record 19th straight state championship and Jones was pleased with the way her girls handled the stage and fought with Bayside Academy.

“I felt like my girls battled and fought and of course we’re playing a team that has elite players at every position. They have the tradition and the history of being here and winning so many championships. That’s basically what their girls are trained to do from a young age so for my girls who have never been here before, we were making history and I thought they fought and did everything they could,” Jones said. “It wasn’t our night, and we didn’t play as well as we could have but I thought they battled and fought hard.”

This year’s West Point team posted a school-record 50 wins this season and was the first to ever compete at the state tournament. Jones credits past teams for helping lay the foundation for this year’s run but acknowledged that this year’s squad was special in the way they played for one another to accomplish their goals.

“The other teams definitely laid the foundation for us because we got close every year, but with this team we really only had seven players all year and they just pulled together and fought for each other every match,” Jones said. “They’re pretty much all best friends and they just played for each other. No one was out there for themselves at all and it was unreal, you usually have to have a special team like that to make it and they all just did their jobs to the best of their ability every team they went out.”

Bayside Academy – West Point (17-25, 7-25, 10-25)

West Point and Bayside were knotted at 5 early in the first set but the Lady Admirals managed to pull ahead 12-8 as the set went on. The Lady Warriors were able to trim the lead to 13-11 but a 4-0 run gave Bayside a 17-11 advantage later in the set. The Lady Admirals led the way 20-16 late and continued to separate from West Point, eventually taking the first set 25-17 and a 1-0 lead in the match.

The Lady Warriors fell behind 6-3 early in the second set and Bayside extended its lead to 11-3 as the set progressed. The Lady Admirals built a 17-5 lead late in the second set and continued to pull away, taking a 2-0 lead in the match with a 25-7 win.

Bayside led the way 5-2 early in the third set and the Lady Admirals extended their lead to 10-3 as the set went on. Bayside stretched its lead to 14-4 midway through the set and continued to pile on, pulling away to defeat the Lady Warriors 25-10 and capture this year’s 5A State Title.

Lexi Shadix led the Lady Warriors with eight kills in the loss to go with five digs. Kayla Kilpatrick added 13 digs while Ryleigh Jones finished with nine digs and a kill. Kyla Kilpatrick and Braelee Quinn each posted five digs and Quinn added three kills for West Point.

Seniors like All-State selection Lexi Shadix, Sydney Sellers, Kyla Kilpatrick and Kayla Kilpatrick will leave behind some big shoes to fill next season after helping lead one of the greatest seasons in the history of West Point volleyball.

5A All-State Tournament Selections:

Lexi Shadix – West Point

Kayla Kilpatrick – West Point

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