Sand Rock rebounds from tough Fort Payne match, earns volleyball tri-match split with Hokes Bluff

Sand Rock’s Peyton Johnson, right, tries to spike a ball past Fort Payne in volleyball action on Tuesday. Photo by Shannon Fagan.

By Shannon Fagan, WEIS Sports Director

SAND ROCK – Win or lose, Sand Rock volleyball coach Lisa Bates appreciates a good battle on the court.

A good battle is exactly what the Lady Wildcats had against visiting Class 6A Fort Payne on Tuesday, as the two teams went the distance.

Fort Payne rallied from three points down late in the first set to take a 25-23 win. Sand Rock rebounded and pulled away for a 25-19 victory in the second set. In the decisive third set, Fort Payne jumped out to a 6-1 advantage before holding on for a 15-13 win.

“The girls said during one of the timeouts this felt like Super Regionals,” Bates said. “It was just good energy back and forth. I thought we played pretty well.

“That was good for us. We need to be challenged. That was tough for us to have to battle and do all the little things. We had a chance in that first set (against Fort Payne) to put it away, then we had four hitting errors near the end of the game. We were in position to win. Just having that type of game is going to make us better. It doesn’t make us better not to work to win or have things too easy. That kind of game made us better.”

Sand Rock rallied to take the nightcap over Hokes Bluff 25-10 and 25-15 to improve to 12-6 on the season. The Lady Wildcats jumped out to a 12-4 advantage against Hokes Bluff in the first set of that match and cruised to the win. In the second set, Sand Rock went on an 8-0 run and finished off the Lady Eagles down the stretch.

“We passed well off serve-receive. That’s what we’ve been struggling on,” Bates said. “I was pleased with our passing. We had a lot of hitting errors because we hit into the block and hit out of bounds, but as far as passing, we were where we needed to be there. We served really well against Hokes Bluff.

“Overall it was a good night. We need to challenge ourselves and push ourselves to get as far as we need to.”

Katelyn St.Clair led Sand Rock on the night with 23 kills, 15 digs and eight aces. Rylin St.Clair added 41 assists and 11 digs. Chloe Stephens delivered 23 digs. Bethany Davis contributed eight kills and 13 digs. Zoey Handy had six kills. Peyton Johnson finished with six kills and three aces.

Sand Rock plays in the Champions Tournament at Alexandria on Saturday.

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