After winning state and the classic last season, the Falcons (25-3) lost in three sets, 25-4, 25-7 and 15-12, on Saturday night in the annual Donoho Classic.
“I feel like we played well today,” said Addison coach Pam Wilkins. “I don’t think we played as well in the championship match as we had played all day.”
Addison (27-2), the pool two winner, had several small scoring streaks in the third game that proved too much for the Falcons, the pool one winner. Down 9-4 in the third set, senior Adele Fink served two aces and got another point to close the Bulldogs’ gap. However, after Addison went on a four-point run, Donoho was unable to recover.
“We just talked about coming back with intensity,” Wilkins said about how Addison faced the third game. “We won game one pretty big and they won game two, so we talked about wiping the slate clean and going back to game one and playing with that kind of intensity. Really we didn’t make any changes, we just talked about settling down our game.”
The Bulldogs started the match strong in game one with 12 aces in a 25-4 blowout. Sophomore Jessy Taylor served for 16 straight points despite, according to Wilkins, just beginning to serve last week, giving Addison an 18-2 lead. After the Falcons were able to capitalize for two points, sophomore Holly Posey served the final seven points of the game consecutively.
“I think all of our servers today stood out,” Wilkins said. “Everybody that served today served tough, including in pool play. Holly Posey served tough all day long and served a lot aces.”
Donoho faced more problems than just the Bulldogs serving as Addison continuously tapped the ball into the middle of the court, racking up several points throughout each game. Falcons’ coach Janice Slay said it was succesful because it caused miscommunication amongst her team.
“That’s a neat little play,” Slay noted. “It’s unexpected and we sometimes forget where we’re supposed to be on those
coverages. It’s a lack of quickness sometimes, a lack of recognition, lack of focus sometimes, because you hope after they’ve done it once or twice that the kids are going to pick up on it, but we didn’t. We will the next time we play.”
Even with Addison’s “neat play,” the Falcons made tremendous improvements after the first game. Slay said she couldn’t remember what she said between games one and two, but it seemed to work on the court. Trailing 17-16, junior Corey Phillips served five aces and added a kill from the back of the court, a run of nine points, to give the Falcons the 25-17 win.
“Corey really pulled us through with her serving in the second game,” Slay said. “We had some outstanding individuals on our team last year and one of our focuses for this year is we don’t have two or three key players. We really have a more unified group.”
Despite not being pleased with the team’s performance in the finals, Slay said she felt the Falcons had a good day overall.
“We kind of let our mental game get away from us, I thought,” Slay noted. “I was very pleased with the second game and third game of the match. We needed to be pushed, so we could see what needed to be worked on before we get to the state tournament.”
Addison reached the finals after dominating Athens Bible, 25-6 and 25-14. Donoho defeated Hatton 25-22 and 27-25 to reach the final match.
Taylor finished the finals for the Bulldogs with nine aces, while Posey added six and nine kills. Jessica Robinson had eight kills, Chelsea Posey added eight digs and Summer Hinton recorded six blocks.
Senior Peyton vanEkris led the Falcons with seven kills during the final game as Phillis added six and recorded six aces. Junior Rylee Segrest finished the final match a team-high nine assists as senior Anna Turner had seven.
Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star.