Danville to host Ashville in sub-state
Danville (38-27) finished runner-up in the 3A Region D tournament Saturday at home and will host Ashville in the sub-state round on Thursday at 6 p.m.
The winner will earn a spot in the Elite Eight at the Pelham Civic Complex.
Danville coach Spencer Cole said his team played well enough when they needed to.
“We didn’t really have any easy matches the entire day,” Cole said. “We played well especially in those high-pressure matches, which are the first two. If you lose the first match, then it’s over. If you lose the second one, you’ll have to play a region winner or runner-up on the road. We played well in the finals too, but we just didn’t pull out the win.”
Danville defeated Holly Pond 25-21, 28-26, 18-25, 25-7 in the elimination match to start off the tournament. In the semifinals, Danville defeated Carbon Hill 25-16, 25-15, 25-14 to lock up home court advantage in sub-state. In the regional final, Winston County defeated Danville 25-23, 25-22, 25-22.
Sydni Shelton led the team with 75 kills, 19 digs and five blocks. Jada Callahan collected 23 each in kills and digs. Megan Luker also added 14 kills and nine blocks.
Haley Rae Garnett racked up 102 assists and six aces. Keri Callahan added 23 digs. Kelsey Alvis had eight aces followed by Lindsey Vinzant with six aces and Hannah McClung with five blocks.
Members of the All Region team from Danville were Shelton, Garnett, Keri Callahan and Jada Callahan.
Cole said the team faces a difficult Ashville team that uses an unusual style of play.
“The key for us is to have really good anticipation on defense,” Cole said. “They are a little bit of an unorthodox team. It’s important for us to anticipate where the ball is going to go. If we can compete and keep the ball off the floor like we did during the county championship against Hartselle, I think we should have a chance to win.”
Danville has steadily improved throughout the year and is playing its best in October, which is the goal that Cole has instilled in his team. At the beginning of the season, the Lady Hawks had to replace four players who never left the floor and and a fifth who was on the floor most of the time. Now, Cole said those role players from last year’s team, whether they are seniors or ninth graders, have become good starters for the team.
“We may not be as good offensively as we were last year, but we’ve been a great defensive team,” Cole said. “It’s great to see just how much we’ve improved and matured over the year.”