District champs: Lady Tigers top Alpena for title
The Green Forest Lady Tigers won the 3A-1 district volleyball tournament Monday night, but not without a few anxious moments.
The Lady Tigers blew an early lead in the first set but fought back to defeat Alpena 15-25, 25-16, 26-24, 25-20 to win the district title and clinch a No. 1 seed in next week's Class 3A state tournament in Harrison.
Green Forest (18-3) will play Conway St. Joseph at 6 p.m. Tuesday night at the Harrison Parks and Recreation Center.
In the district final, Green Forest led 6-0 in the first set, but the Lady Tigers hit the ball into the net and Alpena went on a 16-1 run and won the set.
Green Forest Coach Trista Killingsworth made some adjustments and the Lady Tigers swept the next three sets.
"It was the same kids, just moved them around a few different spots," Killingsworth said. "We needed to jump on them early in the set and get as many points on them as we could and push their big hitter to the back row and we were successful in doing that."
The Lady Leopards had trouble adjusting to the changes, as the Lady Tigers won the second set 25-16. The third set was close, but Killingsworth said her team's maturity showed and carried the Lady Tigers to the 26-24 win.
"I am just super proud of them for not getting down and being pouty," Killingsworth said. "That was key and we had to be ready."
The fourth set was mostly controlled by Green Forest. Trailing 22-15, the Lady Leopards scored three quick points before the Lady Tigers put things away and won 25-20.
Payton Watson led Green Forest in kills with 13, while Emily Glassel had a team high 17 attacks. Kenley Williams had 55 assists for the Lady Tigers, and Carley Chicas had a team-high six aces. Payton Youngblood added 15 digs for the Lady Tigers.
Because Green Forest finished second in the regular-season conference standings, the Lady Tigers received a first-round bye in the district tournament. Green Forest had a nine-day break between matches, which had Killingsworth concerned.
"In my mind that was a punishment because we played three games a week during the season and then we were off all week last week," Killingsworth said.
Killingsworth made sure the Lady Tigers stayed sharp.
"On Thursday I set up an intrasquad match," Killingsworth said. "We got the scoreboard out, the line judges out and we played. One thing we did, which I think was huge, was that if any team got three points off of a serve, the other team had to run a down-and-back, because we have had trouble breaking serve all year."