Ranburne coach Kayla Shelton said her team will start the three to four-hour bus ride Friday morning in order to arrive at the Von Braun Center well before match time.
“They need time to get adjusted to the atmosphere, the few that didn’t go last year,” Shelton said. “My starters, they all went last year. They know what to expect already. The atmosphere is the main shocker to new players who have never been before because it’s so big and loud.”
The Bulldogs will need two super regional victories in order to advance to next week’s state tournament in Birmingham.
At the Area 9 tournament in Woodland Monday, Ranburne opened with a 3-0 win over Horseshoe Bend in a must-win situation. The scores were 25-15, 26-24, 26-24.
“It was a team thing. We played together really well,” Shelton said of the win over the Generals. “That first game, I thought we were going to be beating them real bad but they kind of came back a little bit. The next two games, they made it a little bit of a challenge.” The Bulldogs benefitted from a balanced attack. Mariah Bradley led with 10 kills. Erica Taylor had nine kills, Indiana Morgan eight and Riley Peterson seven.
Lacey Hiett recorded 24 assists and Morgan had two. Hiett led in service aces with five. Peterson had four aces and Taylor three. On defense, Peterson had 10 digs and two blocks. Taylor, Brittany Langley and Taylor Crosson each had seven digs. Mandy Johnson made six digs and Bradley had five. Morgan three digs and two blocks and Lindsey Rhoden added two digs. In the area tournament championship game, Woodland defeated Ranburne 25-23, 25-22, 25-20.
“We led both of the first two sets by like eight points both sets. We just couldn’t finish at the end because we started off really strong against Woodland in the first two games,” Shelton recalled. “I guess we just kind of let up a little bit. You can’t give them any opportunities.”
Hiett had 19 assists against the Bobcats. Peterson and Langley each had two assists. Bradley finished with 11 kills. Morgan had eight kills, Taylor five, Peterson three and Hiett two. Crosson served six aces. Peterson had three aces and Taylor had two.
Taylor recorded 14 digs. Peterson had 13, Bradley nine, Taylor SS eight and Hiett seven.
Johnson and Langley each made three digs and Rhoden had two. Peterson finished with eight blocks and Morgan had three.