BIRMINGHAM — West Point’s season didn’t end the way it wanted on Wednesday.
The No. 8 Lady Warriors fell one win short of securing the program’s first-ever state championship, losing to No. 1 Bayside Academy (25-17, 25-7, 25-10) in the Class 5A title match at Birmingham’s Bill Harris Arena.
It was the 19th straight state crown for the Lady Admirals (52-4).
West Point, making its first state tournament appearance, finished its fantastic campaign at 50-16.
Given the Lady Warriors’ list of achievements, though, fantastic might not be a good enough adjective.
West Point won its second straight Cullman County Volleyball Tournament title, garnered the 5A, Area 14 regular season crown and tore through the field at last week’s North Super Regional Tournament in Huntsville to record that aforementioned state tournament berth.
The Lady Warriors, who also accumulated a school record in single-season wins, can now add a well-earned Red Map to their trophy case.
“Every year, we’ve been pushing to get to this level,” West Point coach Regina Jones said. “This team has really worked hard, and we were determined that we were going to make it as far as we could. We accomplished that goal. We didn’t get the biggest trophy, but we made history. I’m so proud of them. They pulled together and fought for each other every match. They were playing for each other. You have to have a special team like that to usually make it (this far).”
Bayside Academy seized early control of each set, constantly forcing West Point to play from behind and absent any momentum throughout the match.
Lexi Shadix (eight kills and five digs) and Kayla Kilpatrick (13 digs) each made the All-Tournament Team. Kyla Kilpatrick (12 assists and five digs), Ryleigh Jones (nine digs and a kill), Braelee Quinn (five digs and three kills) and Sydney Sellers (a dig and a kill) also contributed in the match.
“I felt like my girls battled, and they fought,” Jones said. “You’re playing a team that has elite players at every position. I know they have the tradition and the history of being here and winning so many championships, so I know their girls from a young age are basically trained to go win a state tournament. For my girls who have never been here before, we’re making history. I thought they fought and did everything they could. It wasn’t our night, and we didn’t play as good as we could. Being our first time in this situation, I know it was hard for them. But I thought they battled and fought hard.”