Donoho limited St. Luke’s Episcopal to just 23 points in its 3-0 win at Sproull Gymnasium Thursday night in the sub-state round of the AHSAA Class 1A state playoffs.
The bench-clearing win was that easy for the Lady Falcons who defeated the Lady Wildcats 25-5, 25-14, 25-4. It only took Donoho, the Area 7 and Region B champions, 52 minutes to dispatch of St. Luke’s, which made a nearly five-hour, 320-mile trip via charter bus to participate in the match.
“I wanted to get everyone a chance to play,” second-year Donoho coach Janice Slay said. “We try to do that as much as possible. We wanted to get everyone on the floor. Tonight was such a big match we wanted everyone to be able to say they were a part of it.”
With the win, Donoho improves its record to 39-15 on the season and advances to the Elite Eight state volleyball championship tournament to face Spring Garden at 8 a.m. Wednesday at the Pelham Civic Complex near Birmingham.
The Lady Falcons wasted no time imposing themselves upon a St. Luke’s squad in its first season playing volleyball. They jumped out to a 7-0 lead in Game 1 on their way to taking the game by 20 points.
Slay inserted the reserves into the match prior to the start of Game 2 when the contest became competitive, if only on the scoreboard. The Lady Wildcats, the fourth-place finisher in Region A, briefly held an 8-5 lead before the Lady Falcons tied the game up at 9 on an ace from Grace Fink.
Fink served the Falcons to a 16-9 lead during a spurt that was peppered by a couple powerful kills from Peyton van Ekris to seize control of the game.
Slay said she never once thought the outcome of the match might be in jeopardy.
Fink finished with nine kills, nine assists and six aces. Rachel Matson also had nine kills to go along with seven aces. Van Ekris had six kills. Corey Phillis and Adele Fink had five kills each and setter Anna Turner added 12 assists. Katie Swinford had six digs and Allie Segrest had five digs.
“I just wanted to get the serves in so we could get going and not fall behind again,” Fink said. “We’ve been working really hard and pushing one another to keep our intensity up.”
St. Luke’s freshman Olivia Etchison had five assists and sophomore Monique Hawkins had three kills on the night.
“I had heard that Donoho had beaten Kinston who beat us,” said Lady Wildcats coach Lydia Chandler, whose roster has no juniors or seniors. “So, I expected a tough game. I think they played well and I think my girls fought hard.”
Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575. Follow him on Twitter at @birds_word.