OXFORD — MaKayla Kidd didn’t get to play in the Super Regional volleyball tournament last year as a sophomore. She was on the junior varsity team at the time, and instead she went as a ball girl to get a feel for what the tournament atmosphere would be like.
Thursday, she’s going to get to go back to Huntsville for the Super Regional, but this time she’ll get to play and she’ll have some nice hardware to take with her.
Kidd led Oxford to the Class 6A, Area 13 championship Thursday after her MVP performance in the finals against Southside.
The Yellow Jackets defeated Southside 25-23, 25-20, 22-25, 25-10 to finish undefeated in Area 13 play and win their second straight area title. Southside defeated Pell City 25-11, 25-23, 25-14 in the semifinals to clint a spot in the finals and the Super Regional. The top two finishers in each area tournament advance.
Oxford (38-15, 5-0 Class 6A, Area 13 play) will play McAdory on Friday at 11:30 a.m. at Huntsville’s Von Braun Center.
Kidd finished the match with 20 digs and eight kills in the win.
“MaKayla was lights out today,” Oxford head coach Wendy McKibbin said. “She was all over the floor and that was probably the best match she’s played all year. Her energy was great, she was diving for balls and she played tough.”
Kidd said she was surprised she got MVP, and she wasn’t even concerned with it. She just wanted to win the area championship.
“I just had the mindset to come out and win the area championship for these seniors,” Kidd said. “I had a headache during the match and I had to come out for a minute, but once I came back in I just came back stronger. I don’t know what it was today, but I was just feeling it.”
Oxford had to battle to get the area title, though. In the first set, the Yellow Jackets trailed 14-8, but battled back and won 25-23. In the third set, Oxford had a chance to clinch the win, but Southside forced a fourth set with a 25-22 win. Oxford did rally late to make it interesting at the end.
In the fourth set, it was all Oxford as the Jackets won 25-10 to clinch the match and the area title.
McKibbin said she was proud of the way her team fought through some adversity and some mistakes.
“You’ve got to learn to fight when your backs are against the wall,” McKibbin said. “You just can’t give up and you can’t start playing passive, you’ve got to stay aggressive. Once you get three or four points and get some momentum then things can change.”
Chloe Stone made the all-tournament team after she finished with 40 assists, 11 digs and two kills. Rachel Uhrin also made the all-tournament team and finished with 11 kills.
Nyia Archie had 13 kills, one assist and two aces. JoJo Skinner had 15 digs and nine kills. Alex Hammond had 27 digs, and Abby Bussey had 18 digs.
McKibbin said she felt like the area championship was a nice way to bounce back after her team didn’t make the Calhoun County tournament finals two weeks ago. The Yellow Jackets lost to eventual tournament champion Jacksonville in the semifinals after going into the tournament as the No. 2 seed and the defending tournament champion.
“It was an eye-opening experience,” McKibbin said. “It showed them it doesn’t matter what your ranking is — you’ve still got to show up to play.”
Now, McKibbin likes where her team is as they head to the Super Regional and look to earn a state tournament berth.
“This is what we’ve prepared for since the first week of June,” McKibbin said. “We’ve got everybody healthy and we’re ready to see what they can do.”