Story by Chris Steiner & Griffin Pritchard | CAScoreboard Writer’s Club
Photos by Sandie Free | CAScoreboard Photographer
MONTGOMERY – The Trinity Volleyball Wildcats, No. 2 in the state behind the Montgomery Catholic Knights have gone head-to-head multiple times this season with their rivals: for the regular season area championship; the area tournament championship and in the South Superregional Tournament – the top seed in this week’s state tournament.
But the script flipped as the Wildcats bested their rivals 3-2 to win the regional championship and set up an Elite 8 match-up against Geraldine (No. 4 out of the North Superregional) on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. Montgomery Catholic matches up with Danville (North No. 3) at the same time.
What makes this rivalry a little more intense – between the Knights and Wildcats – is the marital status of their coaches. Sarah and Sellers Dubberley are happily married but work at schools a little over a mile apart on Vaughn Road.
“Nobody is sleeping on the couch,” said Sarah in an email message with Wildcats stats. “We had dinner and watched TV together … because our marriage is so much more than coaching volleyball against each other. I may hate playing against my husband, but I sure do love him.”
The whole competing against each other thing wasn’t a problem when Sellers was coaching Edgewood Academy to state championships.
Back to the bracket.
Fyffe meets Houston Academy and Hale County lines up against Priceville (North No. 1) to complete naming the eight teams competing for the crown.
No.2 Trinity vs. No. 1 Montgomery Catholic Recap:
In the first set, the Wildcats capitalized on a handful of Knights errors to go up 11-7 forcing Montgomery Catholic to call a timeout. Trinity continues to press and pushes ahead 18-13. Everything seems to be working in their favor. Missed serves by Catholic and great blocks by the Trinity front row fuel the Wildcats momentum on the way to the 25-17 win.
The Wildcats continue to score on all swings taking an 8-0 lead in the second set. The Knights, however, stormed back with a 6-0 run, cutting the lead to two behind the front-line play of Julienne Pharrams and her ability to turn away multiple Trinity attacks. But the run is halted as the Wildcats begin to pick apart Knights’ defense, outscoring them 8-2 to take a 16-8 lead.
The front line play of Emma Moody (13 kills and six blocks), Emma Kate Smith (12 kills and two blocks), and Mya Moskowitz (eight kills and two blocks) seem to be too much for the Knights to overcome. Sophia Taylor rallies to put Montgomery Catholic back in the game at 23-19, but an error gives the ball back over. Catholic closes to 23-21, but they give the ball back over the Trinity on the way to the 25-22 win.
Addison Cherry – throughout the five sets – paced the Trinity attack with 51 assists, 12 digs and a block. Isabell Hill led the defense with 18 digs and had a serve receive rating of 2.21.
Catholic rallied to win the next two sets, tying the match and forcing the fifth set. And even that one was competitive as it needed extra serves to determine a winner. Trinity picked up the 19-17 and the top seed.
Sarah Dubberley: “The girls showed mental toughness and were truly resilient in the fifth set. I’m so proud of them for fighting to the finish line. Volleyball is the ultimate team sport and the girls played together, as one, rather than individuals on the court.”
Now – with the way the bracket is laid out – the two teams won’t meet again until the state championship match on October 27 at 4:30 p.m.
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