Pleasant Valley did exactly that on the next serve. After the serve was dug out and hit back over the net, the Raiders hit it back, with the ball skimming the top of the net and and slowly falling on an empty spot on the floor.
As soon as the ball touched down, Pleasant Valley players and fans had reason to celebrate as they had finished off Ohatchee in five sets 25-14, 18-25, 25-19, 19-25, 15-12.
“The girls were determined to win this area tournament, and they knew they were going to have to get up to do it,” Bryant said. “They were willing to do whatever they had to do to win.”
The championship run started earlier in the afternoon as the Raiders defeated the Victory Christian Lions in straight sets 25-13, 25-4, 25-8 to advance to tournament finals.
It was a team effort as Bailey Turner’s 59 assists helped set up Kaylee Benefield’s 22 kills and Taylor Cochran’s 16. Also for Pleasant Valley (16-24), Jordan Moorer, Anna Bryant, Holly Stewart and Turner helped the effort by serving five, five, two and four aces, respectively. Moorer and Stewart also added nine kills apiece.
Defensively, Benefield had four blocks, while Bryant had 29 digs and Moorer had 12.
“Last year was the first year in a long time we haven’t made it past regionals,” Bryant said.
With having advanced to the super regionals, Bryant is keeping the message simple: “We have to keep our eyes on the prize — state.”
Ohatchee (24-12) still has reason to celebrate — the Indians’ season isn’t finished.
Earlier in the evening, they were able to defeat Wellborn 25-21, 25-16, 25-20 to advance to the tournament finals. This clinched a spot in the super regionals for the Indians.
“They’ve been every year for 22 years,” said Ohatchee coach Rachel Pruitt, in just her second year at the helm for the Indians' volleyball team.
Even though her team took Pleasant Valley to a fifth set, Pruitt still sees room for improvement.
“We did not play to our full potential today,” she said, “but I still feel like they played hard, especially there at the end.”