The streak is over.
Cullman Christian’s 16-game run to begin the season came to a close Thursday at home with a tough five-set loss — 25-23, 16-25, 16-25, 25-21, 15-11 — to Lindsay Lane.
Coach Jason White said his Lions “played not to lose” and allowed their opponent to be the aggressor, which ultimately kept the squad from defeating Lindsay Lane a second time this year.
Haley White had 13 kills, 12 assists, five aces and five saves for Cullman Christian, while Christine Aldijaili contributed 11 kills, nine assists and an ace. Raley Warner was good for three aces, and Hannah Sawyer pitched in five digs and an ace.
With an important match against Bethel the very next day, the Lions were forced to immediately put the loss in the rear-view mirror, which is precisely what they did. Cullman Christian won that road contest in four sets — 21-25, 27-25, 25-23, 25-18 — clinching the area championship and the North’s No. 1 seed in the Alabama Christian Education Athletic Association’s state volleyball tournament.
Haley White came up big — again — with 23 assists, 19 kills and one ace, while Aldijaili was just as dominant with 18 kills, 18 assists and three aces. Jordan Canaday helped in every way imaginable with four aces, three kills, three digs, two saves and two assists.
Although Warner’s stat-line was small — she had one kill and one — her coach’s praise was significant. He said the eighth-grader, who is usually a defensive specialist on the back row, “did an outstanding job all around the court” in the team’s latest victory.
Another player White was quick to recognize was Sawyer, who had five digs, two saves and a kill.
“We had a lot of contributions from folks having to do things they haven’t done all season,” the coach said.
Cullman Christian finished the regular season 17-1 and will now rest and practice for the state tournament, which will be held Oct. 12-13 in Oxford.
“It’s been a great season,” White said. “Now we just get ready for the postseason. We want to try to finish this thing as strong as we started.
The Lions’ junior high/junior varsity squad also earned a few “big wins” late in the season, allowing them to qualify for the North Regional next weekend in Bessemer.
% The Times’ sports editor Rob Ketcham contributed to this report.