2A, Area 13 volleyball
At Fazi-Richard Athletic Center
Falkville 25 19 22 17
St. Bernard 17 25 25 25
St. Bernard (1-2, 1-1) wins match 3-1
TIME OF MATCH: 1:34
Down 1-0 in the match, St. Bernard began to utilize solid serving that propelled them in front in game two and to maintain momentum for the rest of the evening in getting the first victory for coach Tiffany Hinkle-Pope.
The victory was also special in dedicating it to former coach Regina Willoughby who is recovering from cancer treatment after she was diagnosed with the ailment in late July.
Macy Whaley set the tone in the second set with six straight service points and an early advantage for St. Bernard. Whaley then displayed aggressive play with three consecutive kills that accounted for points and a 12-4 lead.
Bridget Gallego followed Whaley with solid serving, scoring four in a row to extend the spread to 15-4.
Falkville fought back and closed to 21-17 on a service point by Peyton Montgomery. Then a volley from Avy Whaley raised the score to 22-18. A net serve was a point for Falkville to move within 24-19 before Macy Whaley got another point on serve and St. Bernard had the match tied at a victory apiece.
The Lady Saints looked at a 10-8 deficit in game three after getting an early 5-1 lead. Macy Whaley was again in the spotlight with a point and a kill that put them ahead to stay. She had eight consecutive service points, including an ace and the lead was now 18-11.
Falkville again made a run and was able to break St. Bernard's serve and trail 24-22. But on their next serve, the failed to return it over, having the ball to go into the net and the Lady Saints were a victory away from taking this area encounter.
Trailing 10-8 in the fourth set, the Lady Saints evened the score at 12-12 when Falkville served the ball into the net. It began a chain reaction for five of the next seven points between the two to be net serves.
Staying cool under pressure, St. Bernard went in front on a serve by Emma Tafazoli to make it 16-15. She scored two more in pushing the lead to 18-15.
A kill by Avy Whaley was a point for the Lady Saints and a 19-16 cushion. Gallego served three in a row with another kill by Avy Whaley that had St. Bernard ahead 22-16.
Following a service break that Falkville scored in narrowing it to 23-17, the Lady Saints finished the 1:34 match as Avy Whaley scored the final two points, getting a kill from Macy Whaley and a volley for match point by Ashley Duke.
Duke did a tremendous job all evening as the setter, getting the ball set properly for Tafazoli, the Whaley girls and Olivia Brown to get 18 kills in the match. Macy Whaley led with five while Tafazoli had four.
"We played like a team, we played smart," Hinkle-Pope said after the match. "Ashley Duke played her very best for us. We have started a conditioning program, they hate it. It served well for us throughout the match. We do have hard workers. Coach Willoughby is their rally cry. I knew they had it in them."
Now the Lady Saints host the St. Bernard Invitational, playing Vinemont at 9:00 a.m. Saturday, followed by East Lawrence at 10:30. Falkville, Lindsay Lane and Cleveland are competing in the event as well.
Photo 1: Avy Whaley of St. Bernard about to serve in 1st set.
Photo 2: L-R, Emma Tafazoli, Avy Whaley, Ashley Duke waiting to receive the serve.
Sportspage photos by Johnny Thornton