After having a bye in the first round, Oxford took care of Pell City in a business-like fashion, sweeping the Lady Panthers 3-0 to capture the Class 6A, Area 13 volleyball tournament in front of its home crowd Monday night.
The Lady Yellow Jackets downed the Lady Panthers for the third time in as many meetings this season, winning 25-21, 25-12, 25-14.
The match looked as if it could go either way in Game 1 but only lasted for a hot second.
The two teams went back and forth, trading points and the lead like strokes in a tennis rally until a timeout called by Coach Wendy McKibbin near the midway point of the game, during which she could be heard imploring her team from the stands in the spacious gymnasium.
Her pep talk pumped her team up as they put the game away, going up seven points at 20-13 to distance themselves from their opponent and eventually put the match away.
“She just told us we weren’t playing to the level that we can,” outside hitter Caitlin Schaeffer said. “She just let us know that we needed to reach our potential, and I think we definitely did that the rest of the match.”
Indeed they did.
The Lady Yellow Jackets opened up a 10-0 lead in Game 2 and won Game 3 with similar ease behind the big-hitting duo of senior Brittaney Brown and junior C.J. Payton.
“It gives you confidence as a setter to know that when your team needs a point you can go to either one of those two,” said setter Logan McCall, who finished with 20 assists and three aces. “We have other hitters as well it just depends on who is hot that game.”
Brown led the way with nine kills and nine digs while Payton had eight. Schaefer had seven and Shanda Chastain had 10 digs.
The Lady Yellow Jackets improved their record to 32-13 on the season and will host the Region D tournament Saturday where they’ll face the Area 14 runner-up at 10 a.m.
“I think we can beat them,” said Brown of the competition they’ll face Saturday. “Huntsville (winners of six state championships) and Grissom are really good teams. So, we’ve got to play together and play up our potential.”