Brewer rolls through county tournament
Brewer didn’t have to worry too much during its run to the Morgan County Volleyball Championship Thursday afternoon at Falkville.
The eighth-ranked Lady Patriots (38-9) didn’t drop a set all day, winning four consecutive matches including a 25-18, 25-17 win over Danville in the championship round.
Senior Cheyenne McLemore said she was elated to win the county title with her teammates, especially after defeating Hartselle in the semifinals and beating the Lady Hawks twice in one day.
“Everyone has worked so hard to get to this point,” McLemore said. “We did this together as a team. It was one of our goals before the season started. It’s just so great to win the county championship.”
Libero Shelby Dooley echoed McLemore sentiments added this was the first time she’d ever been on a team that beat Hartselle in volleyball.
“This is one of the closest teams I’ve ever been on,” Dooley said. “It’s just a great group of teammates tow work with.”
Brewer wasn’t challenged by the Lady Hawks, which advanced to the finals by defeating Priceville 25-22, 25-15 and had lost in pool play to Brewer 25-18, 25-18.
The Lady Patriots took a 15-8 lead and held that advantage to win the first set. Danville kept it close in the second set and trailed only 19-17, but Brewer rolled off the last six points to close out the championship.
Brewer coach Ron Smith said it was a good day for his team and his seniors led the way.
“We have great senior leadership from Reed (Sowder), Cheyenne, Shelby, Amber (Adams) and Lindsay (Goodner),” Smith said. “They just do what it takes to win and do it as a team. They don’t care about statistics. They just care about winning.”
McLemore led the way with 18 digs and six kills in the championship match while Sowder had 13 assists. Savana Flack added four kills and two aces while Riley Northway had seven kills and two blocks.
Danville coach Spencer Cole said his team struggled throughout the tournament, but he credited Brewer for taking advantage of Danville’s mistakes.
“You have to give Brewer the credit,” Cole said. “We just didn’t play well today. They’re a great team and they’ve got good chance to make something happen in the super-regional tournament.”
Danville was led by Kellee Stiles and an ace while Charlee Anderson had 12 assists. Brewer held Danville’s Sydni Shelton to just five kills, nine digs and a block.
Gracie George and Sloan Lindsey added five digs each and Crystal Carter had an ace.
Hartselle was the only team that had a shot at taking a set from Brewer. After losing the first set 25-17, Hartselle led 17-14. But the Lady Patriots stormed back to and the set was tied at 24-24.
Hartselle’s Taylor Lybarger went down with an injury at that time and had to sit out a point, which Brewer won to take the lead.
Then, the Lady Patriots closed it out to advance to the finals.
Hartselle coach Tanya Lybarger gave Brewer credit for the win, but she felt like her team wasn’t playing well, especially after dropping a match to West Morgan in the opener.
“Brewer is probably one of the top three teams we’ve played all year,” Lybarger said. “They’re a great team and they played well today. I’m just glad that we lost today instead of in the super-regional tournament.”
Northway led Brewer in the win with 11 kills and two aces followed by McLemore with six kills and nine digs. Flack added six kills while Sowder had a pair of aces and 14 assists. Dooley also added a pair of aces and eight digs.
Taylor Dellinger led the Lady Tigers in defeat with 11 kills, four digs and a block. Haley Jared also added eight kills, two blocks and 10 digs.
Melissa Paul Hill had 15 assists while Sarah Ellen Battles had eight digs.
In pool play, Brewer and Priceville came out with the top seeds while West Morgan had the lowest seed among the undefeated teams. Danville, Hartselle and Decatur all finished 1-1. Decatur Heritage, Austin and Falkville all were winless and were eliminated before tournament play.
Danville and Hartselle advanced with wins over West Morgan and Decatur respectively to set up their semifinal matchups.
While Brewer’s ultimate goal is to win a championship, McLemore said they are taking it one tournament at a time.
“We want to win the Cullman Tournament this weekend and then the area tournament next week,” McLemore said. “Our goal is just to keep getting better and we want to win a state championship.”