By Jake Winfrey
The Cullman Times
GOOD HOPE —
Good Hope had every reason to be confident heading into its Class 3A, Area 13 tournament on Monday.
The Raiders were perfect in area play and still riding high following their championship showing at the Cullman County Volleyball Tournament a couple of weeks ago.
After dismantling Hanceville 25-6, 25-4, 25-4, Good Hope was just one match win away from capturing its sixth straight area crown and 10th in the past 11 years.
The only thing standing in its way was No. 9 Danville.
Unfortunately for Rosemary Brown and her squad, the Hawks were not a team to be messed with on this particular night.
Danville cruised past the Raiders 25-13, 25-19, 25-8 to steal away an area title and send Good Hope back to the drawing board as it prepares for super regionals on Friday morning.
“It was just a different night I guess,” Brown said. “When you have two good teams like this, you can’t make mistakes. They did everything right and nothing went our way. We couldn’t do anything against those two tall girls.”
Brown was referring, of course, to Danville’s Kheala Roberts and Syndi Shelton, both of whom measure at 6-foot-1 and have a knack for making plays when it matters.
The dynamic duo put away point after point at the net, taking advantage of good sets and avoiding the Raider blocks as well.
Even when Good Hope thought about making a run, Roberts and Shelton quickly stomped out its momentum with ground-shaking kills directly into the heart of the Raider defense.
“They got a lot of good looks,” Brown said. “They are tough to stop. On the flip side, our passing was terrible tonight.”
Katelyn Bishop collected 10 kills and two blocks in the loss, while Kaylee Maddox (five kills, five set assists and one ace) and Kayla Scott (seven kills) also contributed.
With the loss, the Raiders will play the winner of the Area 10 Tournament — Saks, Weaver, Piedmont or White Plains — at 9 a.m. Friday at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville.
“We are excited about it,” Brown said. “However, the road would have been easier for us with a win tonight.”
In the match with Hanceville, Maddox had seven kills and five aces, while Bishop tossed in another six kills. Other contributors included Alannah Henke, four kills and three aces; Sierra Kinser, six aces and three kills; Scott, five kills; and Hannah Wilson, 12 sets.
Danville defeated Vinemont 25-13, 25-7, 25-20 in the semifinals to advance to the championship match and end the season for the Eagles.
Stats were not available for the match.
Due to early deadlines Monday night, results from other area tournaments involving Addison, Cold Springs and Holly Pond were not readily available before presstime.
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 136 or at email@example.com