Volleyball teams prepare for area tournaments
By Stephen Dawkins
JEMISON – The Jemison and Thorsby volleyball teams will have much different tasks in front of them next week at their area tournaments.
Jemison will host its tournament because it finished area play unbeaten with wins over Calera and Holt on Monday. The Panthers have hosted in each of Leighsa Robinson’s five seasons as coach.
The Rebels, meanwhile, will try to advance in the state playoffs though playing their area tournament at county rival Isabella, which has won 11 consecutive area championships.
Jemison (26-8, 5-0 area) on Monday tuned up for the playoffs with a 3-1 (25-16, 26-24, 23-25, 25-17) win over Calera and a 3-0 (25-11, 25-17, 25-20) win over Holt.
Jemison seniors Whitney Childress, Codi Mims and Dallis Vanderslice—playing in their final regular season home matches—said they didn’t feel pressure to continue the streak of hosting area tournaments but instead are focused on the team’s postseason potential.
“We work well together,” Mims said, and Childress added “We have faith in each other to pull through.”
Vanderslice may have summed it up best when she said that, though they have been a part of successful squads in the past, “this has been the best season so far.”
The Class 4A, Area 7 tournament will begin at 3 p.m. on Oct. 13, with Calera, Bibb County High and Holt visiting Alton Cobb Gymnasium.
The other Jemison seniors recognized Monday between the two matches were Holly Barton and Tabatha Cork.
Robinson said the group’s willingness to work has set it apart.
“Our seniors have provided great leadership and played hard,” Robinson said. “They’ve been fun to coach.”
Against Calera, the seniors were productive as always: Vanderslice had 12 digs, Cork had eight kills and five digs, and Mims had six kills.
Emily Smithey posted nine digs and five aces. Kasi Wells contributed eight assists, seven kills, four digs and three aces. Shelby Griffin had four blocks.
The Class 2A, Area 6 tournament—which will include Isabella, Thorsby, R.C. Hatch and St. Jude—will begin at 5 p.m. on Oct. 12.