Danville takes early exit from Elite Eight
PELHAM – Danville was looking for a measure of revenge Wednesday in the Elite Eight quarterfinals against Montgomery Academy, the team that knocked out the Lady Hawks a year earlier.
Montgomery Academy ended any upset hopes the Lady Hawks may have harbored with a 25-15, 25-20, 25-23 victory in the first round Class 3A matchup.
Danville finished the season with a 53-21 mark as the Lady Hawks made their sixth straight appearance in the Elite Eight tournament.
“We didn’t panic and we came back (after game two) and played tough,” said Danville head coach Spencer Cole. “That showed our character.
“I really don’t think I had us prepared to play, I think. You know the things that you are going to have to have in the state tournament and we just didn’t work on those enough.”
The Hawks were unable to counter Montgomery Academy’s front line duo of Meredith Lee and Emily Garcia, who combined for 29 kills in the match.
Montgomery Academy reached the 40-win plateau with the win, but the Eagles were beaten in the semifinals by Bayside Academy, who has won 11 state titles in the last 12 years.
After losing the first two games, Danville made a late run that ended just short in the third game
“We hung with it and didn’t give up,” Cole said. “We were down big in both the first and the third games. We came back and probably should have won that third game.”
The loss ended the prep careers of seniors Kaitlin Wallace, Lindsay Simmons, Lacey Evans, Ashley Nance and Morgan Doherty.
“I said it from the first day that if we didn’t win state with this team it was coaching,” Cole said. “We had great athletes, a lot of skill players and a lot of experience.”
Nance had 14 kills in the match, while Simmons added 11 for the Lady Hawks.
Simmons also chipped in with 12 digs, two blocks and an assist.
Wallace recorded a team-high 29 assists and added five digs and two aces. Sydni Shelton, an eighth grader, had six kills, two blocks, a dig and an assist. Lacey Evans finished with a team-high 17 digs.
Morgan Doherty had 10 digs, two kills and an assist. Jada Callahan added seven digs, one assist and one ace. Haley Garnett had four digs.
“It doesn’t matter that we were playing in the classification with the biggest number of great teams,” Cole said. “I thought we should have beaten Montgomery Academy. I hate to see it end for our girls, but that’s life. It didn’t matter if we won the state championship or not, this was going to be the last time together for this team.”