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AHSAA 51st VOLLEYBALL STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Central Al Scoreboard

By JOSH BEAN | For the AHSAA

Photos Courtesy of AHSAA and Trinity Athletics

CLASS 7A CHAMPIONSHIP
Spain Park 3, McGill-Toolen Catholic 0
BIRMINGHAM – Spain Park High School senior Audrey Rothman landed 24 kills in the final match Thursday to lead Spain Park High School to a hard-fought 26-24, 25-23, 24-23 win over McGill-Toolen Catholic. The Lady Jaguars’ championship came in the finals of the 51st AHSAA Elite Eight Class 7A state volleyball tournament at Bill Harris Arena.
     The victory also came one year after the Jags finished second to city rival Hoover. Rothman made a promise to her coach Kellye Bowen and teammates when that match ended, said Bowen. “She said we would be back and we would win.”
     Not only did Rothman keep her promise, she scored the match point with her final kill of her prep career on an assist from teammate Brooklyn Allison to close out a grueling three-set boxing match of sorts with a very determined McGill-Toolen squad. The Dirty Dozen, coached by Kate Wood, ride into every season as one of the favorites to reach the winner’s circle at the Elite Eight. The Mobile school’s legendary program has won 21 state titles, second-most in AHSAA history behind Bayside Academy, which won its 30th, a national record, Wednesday in the 5A championship match.
    Rothman, heading to Florida State next season, earned MVP honors at this year’s tourney adding 12 digs with her excellent back row work when called upon. Emily Breazeale added 12 kills and seven digs, Allison had 14 digs, seven assists and two service aces in the win.
    Leading McGill-Toolen, which lists only three seniors on its roster, was Chelsea Daffin with 13 kills and Anna Grace Sparks with 12. Emma Moore also had nine. Setter Mamie Fromdahl had 37 assists, Alexa Cole totaled 16 digs and team sparkplug Gracie Calagaz had 10 digs.

CLASS 7A ALL-TOURNEY TEAM
Audrey Rothman, Spain Park (MVP); Lilly Johnson, Spain Park; Emily Breazeale, Spain Park; Brooklyn Allison, Spain Park; Anna Grace Sparks, McGill-Toolen; Chelsea Daffin, McGill-Toolen.

Spain Park Volleyball

CLASS 4A CHAMPIONSHIP
Westminster Christian 3, Montgomery Academy 2
BIRMINGHAM – Westminster Christian’s Meg Paparella pointed at setter Sarah Kim with  a broad smile spread across her face.
    The simple acknowledgment showed the appreciation for her teammate’s pass.
    The point-and-smile celebration happened over and over and over again as Paparella tallied 22 kills – including the championship-clinching spike – to win the tournament MVP and lead the Wildcats to Thursday’s 25-23, 21-25, 25-17, 18-25, 15-13 victory over defending champ Montgomery Academy in the AHSAA 51st Elite Eight State Tournament Class 4A volleyball championship at the Birmingham CrossPlex’s Bill Harris Arena.
    “I’ve been dreaming about this since last year,” Paparella said. “We came out with a bunch of energy.”
     The Wildcats (41-8), coached by Holly Richards, earned the school’s first state volleyball championship while also denying Montgomery Academy from winning a fourth straight state title. The victory also avenged last year’s loss to Montgomery Academy in the 4A quarterfinals.
     “Our composure in the fifth set is really a testament to how much these girls wanted a state championship. … They were not going to let anything stop them,” Richards said.
     Calli Tanielu added 14 kills and 16 digs for Westminster, while Brianna Tinsley added 10 kills. Kim and Tygen Kross combined for 42 assists, and Paparrella had 18 digs.
    Westminster Christian won the first set and built a 2-1 lead, but the defending champs rallied to force a winner-take-all fifth set. In the final set, Westminster Christian won five of the final six points.
      Montgomery Academy (27-16), coached by AHSAA Hall of Famer Julie Gordon, got 18 kills from Elle McBride, 16 kills from Virginia Meacham and 13 kills from Caroline McDanielAddi Vinson dished out 54 assists and added 11 digs.
     “They never gave up,” Gordon said of her team. “They came out and battled and won the fourth set and battled in the fifth. They never quit. They kept fighting. You can’t help but be proud of them.”
     Montgomery Academy had won three straight state titles, winning 3A in 2018 and 2019 and 4A in 2020, but fell one win shy of a four-peat.
     Added McBride, “We played the best we could and just fell short.”
CLASS 4A ALL-TOURNEY TEAM
Meg Paparella, Westminster (MVP); Brianna Tinsley, Westminster; Calli Tanielu, Westminster; Addi Vinson, Montgomery Academy; Virginia Beacham, Montgomery Academy; Elle McBride, Montgomery Academy. 
   

Westminster Christian Volleyball

CLASS 3A CHAMPIONSHIP
Trinity Presbyterian 3, Montgomery Catholic 1
   BIRMINGHAM – Trinity Presbyterian edged Montgomery city rival Montgomery Catholic 3-0 Wednesday to win its second straight Class 3A state volleyball championship.
     The Wildcats (47-7), coached by Sarah Dubberly, posted a 28-26, 17-25, 25-10, 25-22 win at Bill Harris Arena to claim the school’s third state championship overall. Catholic (39-8), coached by Dubberly’s husband Sellers Dubberly, played in its first volleyball state final.
     Junior setter Addison Cherry earned Class 3A state tourney MVP for the second year in a row with her floor leadership highlighted by 42 assists, nine digs and four kills.  Emma Moody and Emma Kate Smith had 13 kills each and Reese Patterson had nine. Isabelle Hill also had nine digs.
    Catholic’s strong hitters Lennon McAnnally and Allyse Rudolph had 14 and 12 kills, respectively, and Julienne Pharrams had eight. McAnnally also had eight digs, Rudolph had even and Mally Barranco had 11. Maria Schwarz had 17 assists and Audrey Trant totaled 15.

Class 3A All-Tourney Team
Addison Cherry, Trinity (MVP); Emma Moody, Trinity; Emma Kate Smith, Trinity; Lennon McNally, Montgomery Catholic; Allyse Rudolph, Montgomery Catholic; Julienne Pharrams, Montgomery Catholic.

Trinity Volleyball

CLASS 1A CHAMPIONSHIP
Donoho 3, Bayshore Christian 0

BIRMINGHAM – Donoho dreamed about this matchup for the last year.
The Falcons made it a nightmare for defending champ Bayshore Christian.
     Donoho earned a 26-24, 25-15, 25-17 victory in Thursday’s 51st AHSAA Elite Eight Class 1A volleyball championship at Bill Harris Arena at the Birmingham CrossPlex, avenging last year’s title-game loss to the Eagles. It was the only meeting between the two teams this season.
     “Today is the most together our team has ever played this entire year,” Donoho’s Maggie Wakefield said. “It’s a great feeling, especially for our seniors.”
      Donoho (55-9), coached by Jamie Clendenin, has now won two of the last three 1A championships – taking home the Blue Map in 2019, finishing as runner-up last year and winning the 2021 title.
     Tournament MVP Lilly Grace Draper delivered 12 kills and 14 digs in today’s championship victory, and Sam Wakefield had 29 assists and 17 digs. Maggie Wakefield added eight kills and 11 digs, Naira Rehman had 18 digs.
     Estella Connell had four kills and six blocks. “The blocking was probably the best it’s ever been,” Clenendin said.
     Ashlyn Whiteside led Bayshore (24-25) with 12 kills and 16 digs. Ella Crooms added five kills, while Molly Brown and Molly Parker had four kills apiece. Brooke Kearney dished out 26 assists.
     Bayshore coach David Omtvedt said the future remains bright for his program.
     “We will be back here next year,” he said. 
CLASS 1A ALL-TOURNEY TEAM
Lily Grace Draper, Donoho (MVP); Maggie Wakefield, Donoho; Sam Wakefield, Donoho; Estella Connell, Donoho; Ashlyn Whiteside, Bayshore Christian; Brooke Raimo, Bayshore Christian.

Donoho Volleyball

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