It took a little bit of time for Wetumpka to get things going on the volleyball court Friday during the Class 6A sub-regional match against Saint James. It had already been a long homecoming week and a football game was just a couple hours away so there were plenty of distractions early on working against the home team.
However, after falling behind by eight points in the opening set, Wetumpka finally found its rhythm and never backed off on its way to a 25-22, 25-12, 25-17 sweep of the Trojans. The victory secured a spot in Wednesday’s South Regional at Garrett Coliseum in Montgomery and moved Wetumpka within one win of the state tournament.
“I feel like we started off sluggish as usual but once we picked up that first set and they knew we could win, things changed,” Wetumpka coach DeAnna Smith said. “They started to believe in themselves. They really became the team that I have been saying all season they could be. If they play like I know they can play, we are unstoppable.”
Wetumpka started to show that capability in the second set and Saint James could do very little to slow down the attack. Morgan Causey had four kills early in the set to help Wetumpka jump out to a 19-2 lead.
Saint James showed a little bit of fight to finish the second set but it was not enough to comeback. The Trojans did take some of that momentum into the third and started to show why they have made an appearance in the state tournament in 18 of the last 19 seasons. Wetumpka fell behind 8-5 after allowing Saint James to take seven of eight points and Smith decided to use an early timeout.
“(Saint James is) used to winning and that was good for us to see,” Smith said. “We dropped a little bit in the third set and we can’t do that against really good teams like that… I told them not to get complacent. We had to win three sets, not two sets. We hadn’t won anything yet so we had to finish.”
Wetumpka came out of the timeout with the same fire it had in the second set. Khloe Harris fueled a run of eight consecutive points including kills on back-to-back plays to put Wetumpka in the lead for good. Harris finished with a team-high nine kills to go along with three blocks and a dig.
“She has such a great eye for the court to find those holes in the defense,” Smith said. “We’re really happy to see her progression.”
Causey added eight kills and two blocks while Yennifer Gomez with seven kills and 20 digs. Kylie Wilson helped create the attack, finishing with 14 assists.