Rams take another shot at title
Wed. October 31, 2012 at 1:00 a.m. | By Andrew Carroll
The format is a bit different from a year ago, but the goal is the same for the Northside High School volleyball team, which opens against Plainview at 9 a.m. today in the AHSAA Class 3A Tournament in Birmingham.
Northside qualified as the No. 3 seed out of the South Super Regional in Montgomery. The Lady Rams swept Dale County and Montevallo in three-game matches before falling to Cottage Hill in three games in the semifinal round. The Lady Rams swept Fayette County in the consolation final.
Eight teams qualified for the single-elimination tournament, with the championship match set for 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
Coach Lecia Cagle directed Northside to the state tournament last year, when 16 teams qualified. Northside opened with a victory over Opp but lost in the second round to Randolph.
"This is what we’ve been looking forward to all year," said Cagle, who will be assisted by Brittani Payne. "This is a special group of kids. They work well together. They play well together. They get along on and off the court. I was bragging on them the other day for their sportsmanship. Whether we win or lose, they always shake the other team’s hand and always do the right thing. It’s been a great year, and I couldn’t ask for a better bunch of kids."
Plainview was the runner-up to Madison Academy in the North Super Regional in Huntsville.
"I know they’re good," Cagle said. "Looking at their record, they must have played in a lot of tournaments. We know what we’re up against. We’re planning on playing our game, just as we have to get us this far. If we had to add a little strategy — maybe more strategic plays or more double-blocking — we will do that."
Northside has four seniors in Ashton Welborn, Karley Watts, Cassidy Porter and Jamie Elledge. Welborn, an outside hitter, and Watts, a defensive specialist, are starters. Welborn is the tallest player at 5 feet, 11 inches. Porter is an outside hitter, and Elledge is a defensive specialist.
Diana Fuller and Samantha Aldridge are sophomore hitters.
"Ashton seems to be better at placing the ball," Cagle said. "Diana is just strong. I’ve seen them dodge it sometimes when she hits it. When she puts it down, it’s down. Samantha has great hang time. When she gets on top of it, it’s pretty much gone too."
Juniors Haley Thomas, Kayla Rice and Ryleigh Malone are defensive specialists.
"Their job is to get it back to the court for that second hit to be worked with," Cagle said. "Hopefully, they can get it to the setter. Our defense played really well (in the super regional)."
Sophomore Bethan Bullard and junior Mikaela Terry are setters.
Other members of the team are junior defensive specialist Kassidy Moore; freshman hitter Savannah Harper; sophomore hitter Ashlyn Clarke; and sophomore defensive specialist Kara Swiney.
Reach Andrew Carroll at email@example.com or at 205-722-0223.