Story and Photos by Chris Steiner | CAScoreboard Writer’s Club, & Griffin Pritchard | Publisher
MONTGOMERY — The top-ranked Montgomery Catholic Volleyball Knights knocked off 7A Auburn High Thursday night in front of the Built By Catholic Community 3-1. Montgomery Catholic – who is ahead of rivals Trinity and Prattville Christian in the just released state volleyball poll – didn’t take long to set the tempo. The Knights bested the Tigers 25-11 thanks in part to a solid defense and great serving that worked to keep the visitors from the Loveliest Village off balance.
Montgomery Catholic – in the second set – kept attacking and using a mixture of solid defense and timely hits from the grouping of Julienne Pharrams, Lennon McAnally, Harper Howell and Allyse Rudolph. The Knights improved to 2-0 on the match with the 25-20 win.
Auburn – however – went to work in Set 3 with a mixture of blocks at the net and taking advantage of Montgomery Catholic hitting errors. The Tigers won the 3rd Set 25-19.
The blocking of Pharrams and Howell was key to Montgomery Catholic picking up the win to move 2-1 with two sets left to play.
Pharrams and Howell continued their block party Set 4 as Montgomery Chatolic pushed ahead 16-8. Auburn battled back to make the set competitive, but ultimately it was the Knights who picked up the win thanks a trio of Tigers hitting errors. Maria Shwartz was able to tip the ball over to secure the win.
The Knights were impressive at the net with key blocks throughout the 4 sets. The defense did a great job digging everything that Auburn put down against the Knights.
The Knights are 20-4 and play this weekend at the Auburn Tournament on Saturday.
At First…Serve the Knights carried that momentum into a field of unknowns facing teams from both in state and Georgia.
Montgomery Catholic – in tournament mode – swept Beauregard 2-0 to start the day and then split with Brookstone.
With match level at a set each, the Knights found themselves down in the third. Brookstone – ranked No. 6 as a 1A private school located in Columbus – had a defensive answer for Catholic in the second and third sets, eventually winning the match 15-12. They forced the Knight to make errors and struggle to find any bit of momentum. Montgomery Catholic bounced back and finished pool play with a 2-0 (25-11 and 25-17) sweep of Georgia’s Troup County High.
The Knights march through Georgia high schools continued into the first round of the tournament play where they dispatched Harris County 25-20 and 25-12 to advance.
The first-round win moved the Knights into a rematch with Brookstone. After losing the first set 25-19, Montgomery Catholic brought the fight to their next two sets, winning 25-21 and 15-8 to bump Brookstone from the tournament.
The Knights started a little slow, trying to find holes in the Brookstone defense, but – like in their first meeting – their opponents kept the Knights off balance. But – the Knights are the top team in their class – and after figuring out their opponents flipped a switch that led to back-to-back wins.
In the rematch with 7A Auburn the Montgomery Catholic Knights, again, had the Tigers’ number defeating them 2-0 to win the championship.
Volleyball Knights Stats:
- Lennon McAnnally (junior OH) – 70 kills, 5 blocks, 9 aces, 56 passes, 18 digs
- Allyse Rudolph (junior OH) – 56 kills, 6 blocks, 14 aces, 96 passes, 50 digs
- Julienne Pharrams (senior MB) – 44 kills, 14 blocks
- Harper Howell (freshman MB) – 39 kills, 19 blocks
- Mally Barranco (sophomore Libero) – 76 digs, 98 passes, 12 aces, 14 assists
- Audrey Trant (junior Setter) – 108 assists, 37 digs, 5 aces, 1 kill
- Maria Schwarz (freshman Setter) – 84 assists, 8 digs, 4 blocks, 6 kills
- Sophia Taylor (junior DS) – 31 digs, 44 passes, 14 aces
- Kathryn Reardon (sophomore RH) -11 kills, 8 blocks, 5 digs
What’s next for the Knights?
Montgomery Catholic jumps into area play and it’s not going to be for the weak-spirited. The top-ranked Volleyball Knights will travel to face No. 3 Prattville Christian Tuesday and then over to No. 2 Trinity on Thursday.
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