Selma ends losing streak at home with 2 wins

Published 10:08 pm Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Selma High Lady Saints (2-5) volleyball team picked up their first two wins of the season on Thursday evening with wins over Autguaville in straight sets and Southside (2-2) in three sets.

“That was our goal since Monday,” Selma High head volleyball coach Katasha Turner said. “We had to use some tactics to connect with each other, and that helped us throughout this week.”

The Lady Saints hosted the games in their gymnasium at Selma High and played the first match of the evening against Autaugaville.

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The girls were in attack mode, and took advantage of their opportunities to kill the ball. The Lady Saints convincingly won in straight sets 25-6 and 25-10.

“Our goal this week was to pass, set and attack,” Turner said. “We get the third ball, we got to attack it. Even though Autuagaville is getting better, they’re a young team with a lot of height and a lot of young players.”

The serves were falling in and the girls were able to go on extended runs to build big leads against Autaugaville.

“It felt really good. We’ve been playing for about two weeks now and losing,” Selma High’s Brittany Johnson said. “It just felt good to come back and actually win for our first time.”

Autaugaville remained on the floor for their second match of the night to play the Southside High School Lady Panthers.

Southside had to fight its way back into the first game against Autaugaville.

The Panthers were trailing 24-20, but Jasmine Smith led a comeback and served for four straight points to tie the game.

“[Smith] is a leader,” Southside head volleyball coach Samantha Henry said. “She pulled the team together, talked to them, motivated them … I knew that she was going to be strong in the end when it comes to serving. Anytime that we’re behind, she’s the one that brings us back.”

The Panthers second effort helped them push across the finish line and win the first game 27-25.

After settling in, Southside cruised to a more comfortable 25-9 win in the second set to win the match. The Panthers went on an early run to separate themselves from Autauagaville.

Autagauville left Selma High without a win, but then the real showdown began.

The Saints, Panthers rivalry brought a brand-new energy to the gym. The stands weren’t full, but the intensity in the gym heightened after each point was played.

“The first set was great,” Henry said. “Both teams played hard. We played to the end. I saw the best in both teams.”

The Panthers took the first game 25-23 even though Selma attempted a late rally. The Saints were a point away from tying the game at 24, but a net violation was called to end the set.

“The first set, I don’t know where their minds were,” Turner said. “They knew we had to play [Southside], but they wasn’t into it. Even though we were hype about it, they weren’t into it and started breaking down a little bit.”

The teams were playing best-of-three matches, so game two was a do-or-die match for Selma High.

Selma and Southside were trading points back-and-forth early in the second set, but confusion at the scorer’s table interrupted the flow of the game.

“We had too many interruptions in the game,” Henry said. “I don’t like that kind of stuff … It had a whole lot to do with how both teams played. It puts too much pressure on the team to have to worry about your scores, worry about playing and that is too much going on.”

Once the correct score was established, the Saints began to pull away from the Panthers. The Saints took the second set 25-17.

The final game kept everyone in the gym on their toes. Each point drew a cheer or a groan.

The momentum remained with the Saints, who ended the game 15-6 with a spike.

“In the first we came out kind of sluggish, but after that game we all came together and said we gotta win. It wasn’t if we win, but we have to win. We had to get that hunger back into us, and we came through.”

The Saints and the Panthers will meet again on Saturday at the City-County Tournament at Selma High’s gym.