Elmore County block party champions

[Courtesy Photo] The Elmore County volleyball team won the Block Party IX Tournament on Saturday night. The Lady Panthers swept Wetumpka, 2-0, in the championship match.

The Elmore County high school volleyball team dominated its way through the Block Party championship on Saturday.

Elmore County, which hosted 11 total teams in Eclectic for its ninth annual Block Party Tournament, went 5-0 and won the tournament championship. The Lady Panthers lost only one set the entire day and beat Wetumpka, 2-0, in the championship match.

“I think one thing that worked for us, especially towards the end against Wetumpka, was the absence of service errors,” Elmore County coach Kim Moncrief said. “We were making some bad errors earlier in the week and we were making our serves and our defense played great.”

Elmore County avenged its loss to Wetumpka earlier in the week. The Lady Indians came to Eclectic last Monday and beat Elmore County, 2-0.

Moncrief saw a lot of service errors in that matchup, and her team played much better on defense.

Wetumpka has a potent offensive attack with Khloe Harris leading the charge. Star Angier, Madison Young and Madison Milton are also all more than capable of killing the ball for multiple points every set, but Elmore County was able to counter that with great play on the back row.

That defensive play led the Lady Panthers to their second consecutive Block Party championship win over Wetumpka.

“We’ve got a really good back row with Hailey O’Brien, Natalie Sullivan, and Taylor Ann Eason,” Moncrief said. “The three of them, especially in the championship game, did a really good job of getting the ball off the floor. I think yesterday, they did an excellent job of doing that. Coranda (Lozada) and Lizzy (Brown) also played back there and played well. We were able to substitute girls back there all day and that helped keep everyone refreshed.”

Sign up for Newsletters from The Herald

Elmore County only lost one set the entire game. The Lady Panthers opened the tournament with back-to-back matches against Booker T. Washington and Horseshoe Bend at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., and the Lady Panthers took both games, 2-0.

Elmore County then had a break until the bracket play began, and the Lady Panthers were seeded No. 3 in the tournament.

Elmore County beat Horseshoe Bend again, in the first round of the bracket play, and then faced Beauregard in the semifinals. Beauregard, another solid Class 5A team, took the second set against Elmore County but the Lady Panthers were too much in Set 3.

That set up the championship match with Wetumpka, which was the No. 1 seed. The Lady Indians swept through the day as well, beating Benjamin Russell, Brewbaker Tech and Tallassee in pool play.

The Lady Indians beat Benjamin Russell to advance to the championship match.

Elmore County’s dominance in the tournament was set up by a tough early portion of the schedule. The Lady Panthers played handfuls of teams in higher classifications and high rankings, and lost early in the season.

But that’s prepared Elmore County for area play, which they are currently 3-0 in, and prepared them for tough matches against teams like Wetumpk and Beauregard.