“It’s another goal that the girls set this year and they achieved,” Talladega head coach Jannie Keith said. “I can’t remember when Talladega High has won the area. It’s history; it’s a great accomplishment. We’re hoping to go further, but first of all, we met a milestone that is a great achievement for these girls and also our community. We hope that we will press forward and make Talladega proud of us.”
In the first game, the two teams played to an early 7-7 tie. Talladega (33-7) managed to gain a 19-11 lead. Sylacauga (20-15) fought to cut the lead to 21-16 following a Taniya Garrett kill. Talladega was able to hang on for the 25-19 win behind six total kills by Makia Tuck.
The teams once again played to an early draw, this time being locked in a 6-6 tie. At that point, Talladega reeled off nine unanswered points behind eight straight serve points by Bre’Anna Porter. Again, Sylacauga fought to cut the lead to 23-16 before Talladega earned the final two points for the win.
Talladega had the early momentum in game three, holding a 10-2 lead. Hayden Stewart had six straight serve points for Sylacauga to tie the game at 11-11. Carlie Drummonds earned a serve point to give Sylacauga their first lead of the game, 16-15. With the game tied 18-18, Laycee Sherbert had eight straight serve points to give Sylacauga a 25-18 win.
The fourth and deciding game was close most of the way. With the game tied 11-11, Shemeshia Truss had three straight serve points, two of which were aces, to give Talladega a 14-11 lead, which they never relinquished. Truss served up the game point for a 26-24 win.
Following the game, Talladega’s Tuck was name All-Area MVP, while teammates Shemeshia Truss, Sheleshia Truss, and Alexis Morgan also earned All-Area selections. For Sylacauga, Garrett, Ebony Mitchell, and Mollie Medine were chosen as All-Area selections.
Tuck was proud of her team, rather than her own individual play.
“I feel great, but honestly, I think the whole team deserves MVP this time—not just me—because everybody worked hard,” she said.
Despite the loss, Sylacauga earned a super-regional berth by earlier defeating Shelby County in five sets. Shelby County won the first match of the tournament, Sylacauga won the second match, and Shelby County won the third match. Down 20-17 in the fourth match, Sylacauga came back with six unanswered points to take a 23-20 lead before winning 25-21. They were fueled by the serving of Mitchell, who had five straight serve points including two aces.
In the fifth and deciding game, the two teams traded points back and forth nearly the entire game. The largest lead for the entirety of the game was two points. Sylacauga gained an early 5-3 lead following a kill by Garrett. Shelby County came back to tie it at 5-5. Sylacauga gained a 10-9 lead after a Sherbert kill. After being tied 13-13, Sylacauga scored the final two points, one on a Garrett kill and one on a formation infraction.
“When we played Shelby County, we really played our hardest,” Sylacauga head coach Sean Stevens said.
“Our passing was spot-on.
“Our hitters were really hitting the ball well and everyone seemed to be serving well also. It’s been several years since we’ve beaten Shelby County, so it’s really nice to beat them and advance to the state tournament. So, we’re excited about that.”