The Providence Christian Eagles are back in the AHSAA state volleyball finals and will see a familiar foe in Thursday’s championship at the Bill Harris Arena in Birmingham.
They will be joined on championship day by another Wiregrass program, G.W. Long. The Rebels will play in their first state volleyball championship.
Providence Christian will compete in its ninth state championship match in 11 years. The Class 4A No. 2 Eagles (42-12), who have won two state titles and been runner-up six times, will once again battle tradition-rich and top-ranked Bayside Academy (54-12), winners of 16 straight state titles.
The two teams, who play at 6:30 p.m., are playing in the finals for the third time in four years. The Admirals won both previous meetings.
A couple hours earlier at 3 p.m., G.W. Long (46-6) will play for the Class 2A state crown against Addison (44-13), which has won five straight titles over Class 1A and 2A. The Bulldogs are the defending 2A champion.
The title match will be the third for a G.W. Long girls team in eight months. The girls basketball team made the finals in late February and lost and the girls softball team won the state title in May.
Both Providence and G.W. Long won two matches Wednesday to advance to the championship round. PCS defeated No. 10 ranked Fairview 25-11, 25-16, 25-18 in the opening round and beat Montgomery Catholic 25-14, 25-11, 25-15 in the semifinals. G.W. Long defeated No. 3 Winston County 25-20, 25-20, 18-25, 25-16 and No. 4 Sand Rock 25-14, 30-28, 23-25, 25-18.
Four other Wiregrass teams competed Wednesday at the state championships with Houston Academy earning an opening-round win — its first state tournament win since 2001 — before being eliminated, while Enterprise, Geneva County and Ariton all lost opening matches.
PCS sweeps two: Providence earned its ticket to the finals with a pair of sweeps.
The Eagles swept Fairview 25-11, 25-16, 25-18 in the quarterfinals. Adleigh Mayes had 34 assists, four aces, four digs, two kills and two blocks. Autumn Mayes had 20 kills, two aces, two assists, 12 digs and three blocks. Anna Riley had nine kills and seven digs.
Lydia Camille Owens had seven kills and five blocks. Emma Houston had 18 digs, Ellie Grace Crowder had seven digs and Katie Griffin had two digs. Anna Grace O’Bryan had three aces.
In the win over Montgomery Catholic, Autumn Mayes earned 20 kills, six aces and 10 digs and Adleigh Mayes had 34 assists, three aces and nine digs. Anna Riley delivered 11 kills and 10 digs, while Lydia Camille Owens had five kills and three digs. Emma Houston finished with a team-high 25 digs and had four kills. Katie Griffin had three kills. Ellie Grace Crowder had eight digs and Eliza Payne Shipman three digs.
G.W. Long wins two four-setters: G.W. Long gained control early, but was forced to four sets in both of its matches before earning the win.
In the win over Winston County, Mary Beth Long had 30 kills, 22 digs, three aces and three blocks, Emma Claire Long had 15 kills and 14 blocks and Makenna Long had 62 assists, three aces, three kills and six digs. Emmaline Hughes delivered 36 digs and three aces, while Breana Henning served four aces with seven kills and had 11 digs. Morgan Ferguson had nine blocks, four kills, three aces and three digs and Ally Whitehead had three kills.
In the victory over Sand Rock, Mary Beth Long had 31 kills, four aces, 15 digs and three blocks, Emma Claire Long had 23 kills, three aces and 14 digs and Makenna Long had 66 assists. Henning had nine kills, three aces and 13 digs. Hughes earned 18 digs and two aces, Whitehead four blocks and two kills and Ferguson had six aces, five blocks and two kills.
HA wins one: Houston Academy won its opener, sweeping No. 7 Carbon Hill, last year’s state runner-up. The Raiders won 25-17, 25-23, 25-17, setting up the semifinal match with Geraldine, which beat Prattville Christian in the opening round.
Leading HA in the win was Irina Martin, who pounded out a team-high 16 kills and also delivered six digs. Ashlyn Conner earned 31 assists, seven kills, three aces and eight digs, while Mattie Havas had six kills, two aces and four digs.
Caroline Nelson and Branham Hewes both had five kills and Nelson earned a team-high 12 digs. Bailey Dykes and Lizzy Kate had two kills each with Dykes also earning two digs. Caley Caldwell had five digs and three assists. Kendall Moore had eight digs.
Houston Academy, though, lost to Geraldine in the semifinals, 25-17, 25-23, 26-24.
Martin again had a big match, earning 11 kills and six digs. Conner had 31 assists, seven kills, three aces and eight digs and Nelson had nine kills and seven digs. Caldwell earned 16 digs and three assists, while Havas had six kills, two aces and two digs. Hewes had three kills and Skinner two kills. Dykes also had two kills and added four digs. Moore also had four digs.
The Raiders finished the season 32-13.
Enterprise ousted: Enterprise won the third set against Hoover, but couldn’t keep the momentum going and was eliminated in Class 7A play by the No. 3 Buccaneers, 25-20, 25-16, 23-25, 25-16.
The loss finished Enterprise’s season at 32-15. It was the 10th consecutive time EHS had reached the state tournament without a win. The Wildcats, though, did win a set, something it did only one time over the last 19 state tournament matches back to 1989.
Ali Wiggins had 13 kills. Morgan Harrelson added six kills and Rhiannon Keck had five and Addy Thompson and Mya Carter had four kills each for the Wildcats.
Harrelson and Carter each had three blocks, while Wiggins, Jaden Williams and Hannah Chang had two blocks each. Harrelson had 14 assists and Wiggins added 10 assists.
Tatiana Bonilla led the Cats with 25 digs. Wiggins had 15 digs, Harrelson finished with eight and Keck added seven digs and Thompson had six.
Geneva County falls in historic appearance: Playing in its first state tournament since 1979, Geneva County lost to sixth-ranked Cedar Bluff 25-12, 25-16, 25-12. The Lady Dawgs finished the season 23-14.
Karoline Striplin had eight kills, nine blocks and three digs, Hana Habbard, the team’s lone senior, delivered nine assists and two digs and Anri Davis had four kills and two digs.
Ariton also eliminated: Ariton’s third straight state appearance ended with a first-round loss for the third straight time. The Purple Cats lost to top-ranked Addison, 25-12, 25-16, 25-12 to finish the season with a 21-10 record.
Blair Hughes and Sarah Snyder both had five kills and Caroline Hughes had three assists.