COUNTY VOLLEYBALL TOURNAMENT: Lady Aggies edge Holly Pond 3-2; West Point, Fairview advance to JV Finals

The Fairview Lady Aggies defeated Holly Pond 3-2 in the varsity semifinals Tuesday night. (Nick Griffin/The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – This year’s Cullman County Volleyball Tournament resumed at Hanceville’s Lane Horton Gymnasium Tuesday night and the top-seeded Lady Aggies went back in forth in a thrilling, five set battle with Holly Pond to secure a spot in Thursday’s county finals. After taking the first two sets over the Lady Broncos 25-22 and 29-27, Holly Pond bounced back to take the third and fourth sets over Fairview 26-24 and 25-20 to force a fifth set. With a spot in the county championship match on the line, the Lady Aggies rallied to defeat the Lady Broncos 15-12 and advance. Fairview will take on the winner of Good Hope and West Point for the county championship Thursday at 6 p.m.

On the JV side of the bracket, West Point fended off Holly Pond in three sets to advance to Thursday afternoon’s JV County Finals. In the night’s other JV match, Fairview defeated Good Hope 2-0 to secure a spot in the finals as well and will face West Point Thursday at 5 p.m.

West Point 2 – Holly Pond 1 (JV) (23-25, 25-21, 15-9)

West Point got off to an early 5-2 lead on an ace from Bella Thornton, but Holly Pond came back to tie things up at five on an ace from Kalli Ham. The Lady Broncos later held a slim 10-8 lead, but the Lady Warriors went on a 7-2 run to get the lead right back at 15-12 behind a point by Violet Riddle and an ace from MJ Kaser. West Point held an 18-15 lead late in the set, but Holly Pond came back to tie it up at 18. The Lady Warriors broke the tie with three straight points to take a 21-18 lead, but Holly Pond scored the next six points, including four aces from Bella Foust, to take a 24-21 lead. West Point cut it to 24-23, but Adalynn Tapscott clinched the 25-23 win for the Lady Bronco with a point.

Holly Pond jumped out to a 4-1 lead behind a point by Ham, but a kill by Jacee Bartlett helped West Point tie thing up at six. The Lady Warriors pushed their lead to 9-6, and later on, to 14-8 on a point by Ham. An ace from Morgan Bartlett helped the Lady Broncos cut it to 16-13, but West Point got a kill from Mary Beth Penn and back-to-back aces from Riddle, as that pushed their lead to 20-13. Holly Pond went on a run to get back in the game, as a kill by Tapscott and back-to-aces from Mila Edmondson, made it a 23-21 contest. Riddle collected the final two points for the Lady Warriors, as they went on to take the second set, 25-21, to tie the series up at one.

An ace from Sophia Hays gave Holly Pond an early 3-1 lead in the third and deciding set. West Point, though, scored the next five points, with the final three points coming via ace from Riddle, to take a 6-3 lead. The Lady Broncos came back to tie things up at eight, but the Lady Warriors broke the tie with three straight points, which included back-to-back aces from Hanna McKenney, to take an 11-8 lead. Holly Pond cut it to 11-9, but West Point finished the set strong, scoring the final four points, including the game-winning ace from Kelsye Will, as they ended up taking the set, 15-9. The Lady Warriors clinched a spot in the championship game on Thursday.

Fairview 2 – Good Hope 0 (JV) (25-18, 25-18)

It was tight early on in the first set between Fairview and Good Hope. The Lady Aggies held a slim 4-2 lead, but later on, the Lady Raiders tied it up at five on an ace from Caselyn Whatley. Fairview then went on a huge run, and Kailyn Redding was a huge part of that run, scoring five of their next seven points, as that gave them a 12-6 lead. The Lady Aggies later pushed their lead to 16-8 behind a point by Ralie Gaines. Good Hope trimmed it to 18-13, but Fairview quickly increased their lead to 22-14 on another point by Redding. Back-to-back aces from Jordan Sanders helped cut the Good Hope deficit to just five at 22-17, but the Lady Aggies made sure that they wouldn’t get any closer after that, as they ended up taking the first set, 25-18.

The Lady Aggies jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the second set behind a kill by Peyton Salazar, but the Lady Raiders went on a 5-2 run to make it a 6-5 game. Fairview scored the next four points, which included kills by Anna Strane and Redding, and an ace from Tara Evans, to take a 10-5 lead. They later pushed their lead to 13-5, but later on, a kill by Whatley, an ace from Maggie O’Neil, and a point by Kloe White, helped cut the Fairview lead to 14-11. Lexi Marshall got a kill for the Lady Raiders as that made it a 17-14 game, but the Lady Aggies got kills from Strane and Redding to help push their lead to 22-15. Good Hope cut it to 24-18, but Redding delivered the game-winning kill for the Lady Aggies as they swept last year’s champions, 25-18, in both sets, to move on to the championship game on Thursday.

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