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... But Lady Mavs aren’t interested

ACHS beats Clinton, Gibbs to win district

  • Erin Cantrell (12) and Bailey Wilder send back a Lady Eagle offering at the net during the district volleyball tournament. - Ricky Williams

  • Lady Mavs Captain Hannah Freeman serves up a ball during district tourna- ment play last week. - Ricky Williams

Anderson County and Clinton both traveled to Gibbs High School on Wednesday, Oct. 8 for the district championships. Four schools competed, with the winners playing a second game for the title of district champs. The first match-up was Clinton and Anderson County.

Clinton played on Tuesday against Union County for the final playoff spot, with Clinton winning that game as Savannah Norman returned after her injury earlier this season.

Anderson County handily beat Clinton for the first two sets, coming away with sets of 12-25 and 8-25. For the last set, though, Clinton seemed to find its footing and gave the Lady Mavs a run for their money, gaining an early lead and keeping it for most of the set. Then the Lady Mavs took a timeout to pull themselves together and rallied to close the gap before finishing the game-set at 25-20.

Gibbs, meanwhile, played against Union County, with both teams struggling to get a leg up on the other.

Each set, both teams’ combined scores reached well over 40 points, so that, by the time the match set rolled around, it was already almost seven, the scheduled time for the championship game. When Gibbs cinched the win, the players were given a quick rest before warming up for the final game.

Fifteen minutes late, the game started.

The crowd, which had been spread across the large gymnasium, now sat concentrated around the one net stretching up to the second story, all waiting and watching.

In the first set, Anderson County took a large, early lead against a Gibbs team that seemed either exhausted or rattled or both.

When Anderson County was almost 10 points ahead, though, something changed in the Lady Eagles and they started to find their footing.

Same as the last time the two schools played, every point was fast and aggressive, with both teams chattering and moving constantly to back one another up. Hannah Freeman earned her later accolade, serving as Anderson County’s cornerstone for the match and viciously attacking as her team passed her the ball again and again and again. That being said, if it weren’t for Leah Freeman’s play as libero intercepting Gibbs’ spikes and attacks, there’s no guarantee that Anderson County would still have come away with the win.

In that first set, Gibbs was unable to close the gap, leaving the final score at 14-25 in favor of the Lady Mavs. The next set was closer with Gibbs taking an early lead that Anderson County whittled down bit by bit and point by point until closing it 25-19 for another point under the Lady Mavs’ belt.

The second set seemed to break the Lady Eagles’ spirit, though, after losing their lead.

The final set wasn’t nearly as intense as the first two as Anderson County took an early lead and held it the entire time. Gibbs struggled to push with the same aggression and intensity as the first two sets.

In the end, the game was remarkably similar to the last match between the two schools on Sept. 10, with Gibbs bringing Anderson County to the wire before AC finally managed to win out.

There’s no doubt, though, that both teams and the phenomenal athletes composing them, truly worked hard through the entire season, and even though it culminated in a win for one and a loss for the other, they both deserved to be in that game.

After the games were over, the individual awards were handed out, with Clinton’s Savannah Norman and Cheyenne Fox named First Team All District. Four Anderson County players took home commendations as well. Jayce Braden, Leah Freeman, Erin Cantrell, Maddy Rowland, and Kelsea Marlowe were named First Team All-District, and Coach Jayme Smith was named the Region II District 4 Coach of the Year. Hannah Freeman was named MVP.

Dail Cantrell, one of the team’s coaches, said everyone is incredibly proud.

“In the history of our program, we have never had eight players receive First Team All-District Honors, and we have never had a team with no seniors. Both Norris and Lake City Middle had strong seasons as well, so the future looks bright.”