Cleburne County wins area title
by Mark Ledbetter
The Cleburne County Tigers girl’s volleyball team clawed their way past Munford Lions and upset the Lincoln Lady Golden Bears to take the Alabama High School Volleyball Class 4A, Area 10 tournament Thursday night.

“I am proud of my team,” Cleburne County head coach Doug Ward said. “This is the first time ever as area champs.”

The Cleburne played Munford in the opening match winning 25-22, 25-27, and 25-29.

In the opening match the Lions built a lead 22-18 on good net play, but the momentum shifted and Tigers fought their way to a 25-22 come-from-behind win.

Tigers momentum continued into the second set and won 25-17. In the third set it appeared Munford began to have the upper hand when Cleburne County came from behind again to win 29-25.

“They finally settled down after being nervous,” Ward said, “but everything came together for us.”

Munford coach Stacey Dotson said she was proud of her team and that they had come a long way this season.

The Lincoln Lady Bears faced a winless Anniston Lady Bulldogs and easily defeated them in three sets, 25-10, 25-12, and 25-6.

Each victory came on the strength of the strong service of Lincoln’s servers. In game one, Destini Dye served the last 15 straight points to secure the victory. Game two was dominated by good team play and excellent sets by Katelyn Bean. Game three’s victory included excellent service by Heather Proctor and Dye.

The victories by Cleburne County and Lincoln set the stage for the Lady Tiger upset of the Lady Bulldogs.

Lincoln built a lead in game one, but appeared to let Cleburne back into the game before pulling off the win 25-18. The game was marked by excellent team play and extended volleys.

The momentum shifted in the second set as the Lady Tigers slowly built a lead by breaking the Lady Bears’ service. Cleburne built a commanding lead and won the second set 25-15.

Game three became an intense exchange of volleys and neither team was able to establish a consistent service. The Lady Tigers withstood seven straight points scored by Lincoln’s Proctor.

Neither team, however, was able to secure the two points needed once both teams scored 25 points. The teams continued to exchange points until the Lady Tigers pulled of a 32-30 victory.

Needing to win a decisive third game in the best 3-out-of-5 match, Cleburne County was never able to mount a significant lead over Lincoln. There were several prolonged volley exchanges as neither team wa

s able to pull away. The Lady Tigers finally clawed their way to a 25-22 victory.

“We showed up at the right time,” Ward said.

Two of Ward’s senior players, Ansley Walker and Chelsey Zeiders, were especially proud of the victory. Walker said she has been playing for five years and the victory was overwhelming. “This is the best feeling.” Zeiders said who has been playing for six years.

Lincoln coach Patty Hansen said she was disappointed in the loss ,but looked forward to the next tournament play. Hansen said the top two teams advance to the next round.

After the final game All Tournament players were announced. Representing the Lady Golden Bears were: Leia Brown, Clancy Carlisle, Heather Proctor, and Krystal Calhoun. The Munford Lady Lions had three player to receive honors: Shandrea Byers, Jessica Blankenship, and Kelly Foster. Anniston’s representative is Taliyah Knox.

For tournament winner Cleburne County Tigers All Tournament players are Ansley Walker, Toni Epps, Kaitlynn Zeiders, Caitlyn Caffee, and Dynasty Santana.

Winning the tournament MVP is Chelsey Zeiders.

Contact Mark Ledbetter at
© 2012