Russellville girls fall short of regional berth
Mike Self FCT Sports Editor
MUSCLE SHOALS – The Russellville High School volleyball team narrowly missed out on a regional berth on Tuesday, falling 25-23, 19-25, 25-16, 20-25, 8-15 to Athens in the first round of the Class 5A, Area 16 tournament at Muscle Shoals High School.
Russellville appeared to have the edge in momentum after rallying from a 16-12 deficit with 13 straight points to close out game three and take a 2-1 lead.
Athens recovered, however, to win games four and five, earning their first victory over Russellville this season in three tries.
"I don't know what happened," RHS coach Charlotte Dollar said. "At times we looked unbeatable, and at other times we just couldn't seem to get it together. Athens is a really good team, and it's hard to beat a good team three times in one season."
Despite the disappointing way in which the season ended, the Lady Golden Tigers made major strides this year. They won 13 matches and finished second to perennial powerhouse Muscle Shoals in the Area 16 standings during the regular season.
"It was a great year," Dollar said. "We won more matches this year than we have in a long time. The girls played really well. I'm very proud to be associated with them. They're good people, and that's what matters most.
"Ballgames come and go, but good people are hard to find."
Senior Jordan Dollar led Russellville on Tuesday with 17 attacks, 14 kills, 21 digs and five aces. Senior Sasha Willingham also had 17 attacks, and she finished with six kills.
Freshman Erin Reynolds recorded a team-best nine blocks to go along with 14 attacks and 10 kills.
Senior Tiffany Watkins finished with seven attacks and seven digs, and sophomore Cassie Montgomery had 10 digs, four attacks and three kills.
Junior Calli Davis led Russellville with eight assists, and junior Anne-Marie Hall added six.
Senior Alyssa Turbyfill had eight good serve receives and two digs, and sophomore Ariel Howard finished with eight attacks and four blocks.
Freshman Allison Martin had five good serve receives and five digs, and junior Lindsey Gardner added one kill. Sophomore Halie Harvey finished with 13 digs and two aces.
Muscle Shoals defeated Athens in the area championship match, with both teams advancing to the regional tournament.