While many people in the Cullman County area are likely thinking about the impending football season, it was actually the volleyball girls who kicked off the fall prep schedule with a bang.
St. Bernard traveled to Vinemont for the opening-day festivities on Thursday afternoon, gave the Eagles all they could handle and eventually came away with a 25-22, 23-25, 15-8 victory to get off to the fast start Saint coach Shannon Mescher was looking for.
“I had jitters the first day,” Mescher said. “They spanked us last year, and I told our team they better be ready to play this time. This is a nice thing to take home for us because we were a little defeated after playing them last season.”
The first set saw both teams battle back and forth, with Vinemont taking a brief 19-18 lead before St. Bernard reeled off six straight points to ultimately pull away and take the early lead.
The Eagles took the second set in another close one to level the match heading into the third — and decisive — frame.
From there, it was all Saints as Mescher’s squad took eight of the first 11 points to coast to an easy set and match win.
“We made some silly mistakes that we need to clean up,” Mescher said of her team. “I know we can do it, though. Our passing has improved a lot from a year ago and that’s really going to help us moving forward in the season.”
Zana Wilson had seven kills and two blocks for the Saints, while teammates Zoie Wilson (five kills), Katherine Gamble (five kills and three blocks) and Alli Messick (three kills) were also key contributors.
Abbie Mescher collected 34 assists to go along with three aces and two tips. Aimme Cortes pitched in with 15 digs.
For Leslie Cole’s squad, it wasn’t exactly the start they were looking for to begin their 2013 campaign.
The loss of three solid hitters, as well as a general lack of height, plagued the Eagles throughout the match.
“Those two things hurt, but our serving killed us tonight,” Cole said. “We did have a really good defensive game, though.”
Grace Griggs led the way for Vinemont with 21 hits and five blocks. Teammates Allison Fowler (10 assists) and Kiersten Simmons (nine digs) were key cogs for the Eagles, while Caitlin Kuykendall shined with 25 sets and four digs of her own.
On Tuesday, the Red and White will travel to West Point, where Cole hopes her team can shake off the butterflies and the frustrating start when it takes on the Warriors.
“It was the first game, so now we can get the nerves out of our system,” she said. “We just need to improve throughout the season, and I think we can do that for sure.”
% Addison: The Bulldogs got off to a fine start as they look to return to Birmingham once again.
Addison dispatched Hartselle 23-25, 25-17, 25-13 and Curry 25-13, 25-11 on its home court Thursday afternoon to pick up its first two wins on the young season.
“The first set we came out timid and nervous,” coach Pam Wilkins said of her Bulldog squad. “After that, I thought we played very well and very aggressive.”
Jessy Taylor was a beast for Wilkins, securing 13 kills and 11 aces. Other Bulldog contributors included Kayla Robinson, 11 kills and five aces; Summer Hinton, nine kills; Jessica Robinson, eight kills and three aces; and Holly Posey, six kills, four aces and 48 assists.
% Cullman: The Bearcats fell to Brewer 10-25, 20-25 and 19-25 in a best-of-five match on Thursday afternoon.
Grace Binkowski had five kills for Cullman, while Erica Thomas and Olivia Kontogeorge each finished with four.
Roxanne Orr and Kaitlyn Brannon were each good for four aces, and Oakleigh White contributed with 10 digs.
The Bearcats will head back to Brewer on Saturday for a tournament.
% Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 136 or at email@example.com.