By Rob Ketcham
The Cullman Times
It pays to be the No. 1 seed in the Cullman County Volleyball Tournament.
For proof, just ask Cold Springs and West Point, which took advantage of first-round byes to win the junior varsity and middle school titles last week. Or maybe ask April Hays, whose Holly Pond squad stormed to the varsity championship from the top spot one year ago.
Nearly 365 days later, the Broncos are back at No. 1 for the latest Cullman County Varsity Volleyball Tournament, which starts Tuesday at West Point. Holly Pond has yet to lose to a county opponent this season and will have to keep it that way through Thursday night if it hopes to win its third title since 2009.
The Broncos were runners-up in 2010 and 2011.
The host Warriors enter as the No. 2 seed, and Cold Springs is right behind at No. 3.
Good Hope, which won seven-of-eight county championships from 2003-10, is next up at No. 4, followed by Vinemont, Fairview and Hanceville.
Seedings are based on each team’s record against county opponents.
The tournament transitioned from a single- to a double-elimination format four years ago. No team from the consolation bracket has hoisted the winner’s trophy since the change was made.
Here’s a breakdown of the varsity action scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday:
Match 1: West Point vs. Hanceville, 2 p.m. on court 1
Match 2: Good Hope vs. Vinemont, 3 p.m. on court 1
Match 3: Cold Springs vs. Fairview, 3 p.m. on court 2
Match 4: Holly Pond vs. Match 2 winner, 4 p.m. on court 1
Match 5: Match 3 loser vs. Match 1 loser, 4 p.m. on court 2
Match 6: Match 3 winner vs. Match 1 winner, 5 p.m. on court 1
Match 7: Match 5 winner vs. Match 4 loser, 5 p.m. on court 2
Match 8: Match 2 loser vs. Match 6 winner, 6 p.m. on court 1
Match 9: Match 7 winner vs. Match 8 winner, 2 p.m. on court 1
Match 10 (winner’s bracket final): Match 4 winner vs. Match 6 winner, 3 p.m. on court 1
Match 11 (consolation bracket final): Match 9 winner vs. Match 10 loser, 4 p.m. on court 1
Match 12: Championship, 5 p.m. on court 1
Match 13 (if necessary): 6 p.m. on court 1
% Rob Ketcham can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 257 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.