The Lady Bulldogs of Addison were dominant in their straight set win over Winterboro (25-6, 25-4, 25-5).
“Today, we definitely looked like a team that played like it was their first time being here,” Winterboro second-year head coach Sheroderick Smith said. “We had a group of seniors that got us as far as they could. We were overwhelmed by the other teams’ fans, because there are six games going on at one time, there is a 300 inch projector screen on the wall. Throughout all of our three games we just never got going. Addison has an extremely good team and program. That was the purpose to add teams like that on our schedule just in case we made it this far. We just never got going and it is not really much you can do in this situation. We were very nervous. I really appreciate all the parents and the fans that came out to the game and supported us. I thank the cheerleaders.”
Addison showed Winterboro why they were one of the best teams in the state. Addison cruised past Winterboro 25-6 in the first set. The second set, Addison scored eight straight points off the serve of Jessica Robinson. Her error on her serve gave Winterboro their first point of the set. Addison’s front line went up and sent the ball down with authority several times in the second set. Summer Hinton had back-to-back kills to give Addison a 14-1 lead. Addison went on to score 11 out of the next 14 points to win the second set 25-4.
In the third set the Lady Bulldogs (14-13) continued to give their best effort on the court, but it just wasn’t enough. Addison won the match 25-5 to take a step closer to getting back to the Class 1A finals for back-to-back seasons.
Smith was pleased with the effort he saw from his team.
“We had great effort,” Smith said. “Jasmine Richardson played her heart out and I see that a lot in basketball. Jasmine left it out there today. Chanel (Phillips) played solid too.”
Over the last two seasons, the Lady Bulldogs volleyball program has won back-to-back area championships and became the first team in school, as well as Talladega County, history to advance to the Elite 8. Smith is elated about what his seniors Jasmine Richardson, Takeya Cunningham, Tamirra Johnson, Chanel Phillips, Tiffany Vincent, and Brittany McGhee accomplished.
“When you talk about building programs I think I got a lot out of this group starting from their 11th grade year,” Smith said. “You are asking a group of girls that have been set into a routine and not really want to reach far and haven’t been pushed hard to work on consistent bases. You get two area championships out of them, a Sweet 16 appearance and the Elite 8. I got a lot out of these girls. In order to prepare ourselves for future scenarios of Super-Regionals and State competition we have to start instilling that their seventh and eighth grade year. The girls that I have returning back: an eighth grader and three ninth graders that have experience. Hopefully, they got a good experience out of this too. We have to start instilling a lot of these things in our youth and grow it, grow it, grow it until you get to a certain level where you are building programs. The teams we played today, after speaking to their coach, she has three volleyball teams. Some schools are good at all sports, some schools focus on one and we are trying to be a school that focus on all the sports.”
Smith hopes to keep building off the success that he has had in two seasons of building the volleyball program.
“We only have 11 players in our program,” he said. “We had a junior high schedule and a varsity schedule that really showed some commitment that these girls were committed to play down just to help our younger girls out. In the future, we are going to have to have a feeder junior high program that preaches fundamentals-my assistant coaches does that well. Then you have to have a varsity coach that knows what he is doing. Then when you are in these situations where you need to be mentally tough you have already seem these situations in your ninth or tenth grade year. Then we could get to a level where we are building consistency. Kids have their favorite sport where they play volleyball only and they deserve a great program just like the basketball program. They deserve that too and I feel like I gave it to them.”