Special to The Times
The Cullman Times
With three players, including one starter, out due to illness, Wallace State’s volleyball team showed its roster depth Wednesday night, using a mixture of new lineups and rotations to sweep Snead State and Lawson State in a pair of conference matches at Tom Drake Coliseum.
Wallace State, the four-time defending state champions, also utilized the matches to get tuned up for some highly competitive tournaments over the next few weeks. The Lions beat Snead State 25-9, 25-23, 25-18 and followed with a comfortable 25-9, 25-15, 25-7 victory over Lawson State. Wallace State, winners of four in a row and 11 of 12 matches, improved to 20-8 overall and 11-0 in Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) play.
“I liked the rhythm and energy we played with against both Snead State and Lawson State. We played with a lot of confidence. Sometimes it’s unpredictable because you never know which player is going to play well, but we went with a couple of lineups and it worked out,” Wallace State coach Randy Daniel said. “There’s honestly not a whole lot of difference or drop off among the 14 players on our roster. During every match or set, someone new has a chance to contribute. I hope that is going to help us down the road.”
Against Snead State, sophomore Kianna Delaney paced the way with 15 digs, 13 kills and a block. Bethany Johnson finished with 10 kills and eight digs, BreAnna Thompson had seven kills and four digs, Syretha Pride contributed six digs and five kills, and Lynlee Taylor added four kills. Taylor Traglia put together a team-high 19 assists and added five digs, Kaci Kirk had 12 assists and three digs, and Payton Norris finished with 12 digs.
Kirk finished with 12 assists and two digs in the victory over Lawson State, while Traglia added 11 assists and five digs. Thompson finished with eight kills, Johnson had seven kills and two digs, Delaney had six kills and eight digs, and Pride and Taylor each added five kills. Olivia Walker collected a team-high 10 digs, Norris had nine and Rosemary Wendel contributed eight.
Beginning today, Wallace State will oppose two top-10 teams among its tournament opponents in the Vincennes (Ind.) University Invitational. The Lions play Kaskaskia (Ill.) College and ninth-ranked Illinois Central College on Friday followed by No. 2 Parkland College (Ill.) and Owens (Ohio) Community College on Saturday. Illinois Central and Parkland are NJCAA Division II programs. Wallace State is a NJCAA Division I program, the highest division rank among junior college athletics.
“The competition we face over the next few weeks is going to be unreal. It’s going to be a huge test. We need to continue to be challenged,” Daniel said. “It’s going to be three straight weekends of blood and guts volleyball. Maybe that will prepare us for our region tournament.”