Shelbyville Moulton 8th grade volleyball, the reigning state runner-ups, had lost just twice all season. They had beaten Meridian twice this season. But, they couldn’t get it going and feel to the Hawks in the Central A&M 3A Regional title game on Thursday, 12-25, 27-25, 22-25.
Shelby had also won the conference tourney and the conference regular season title. Meridian was very talented, but was on the outside of the glass ceiling when it came to the Lady Rams. That is, until Thursday night, when the Hawks shattered that glass ceiling and advanced to the sectional championship game next week.
“We just couldn’t find a rhythm,” said Ram coach Lisa Peifer. “After the first game, we played better, but just couldn’t get over the hump. It was an emotional night for everyone, from the kids, to the fans, and of course, the coaches. I challenged the team during the first game and the kids tried to do everything I asked. We just couldn’t piece enough good things together to pull it out.”
Meridian was all over the Rams in game one. Game two the Rams responded, but had to go to OT to get the win and still couldn’t stop the Hawks from scoring 25 points. In game three, the emotional expenditure took its toll and tipped the scales to the hungry Hawks.
Sydney Miller, Jacque Johnston, and Maddie Holland had strong performances, but they had to against Meridian or get completely blown out. They all had near double-doubles.
Miller led the Rams at the line, at the net and in mid-court defense. She served 13 points with three aces. She was on the attack, swinging for eight kills and a block (9 net points). She also was a top defenseman with eight digs.
Holland served nine points with two aces. She had just three kills, but rose up as the net defender with six blocks (9 net points). She also got down for five digs.
Jacque Johnston was also an all-around player. She served nine points, swung for six kills and dished six assists. She led the team in court defense with nine digs.
Kary Langan also was a double-digit performer at the line with 12 points. Setter Caylee Wheeler dished 12 assists and also served nine points. Torre Koontz served seven points and dug eight balls.
“It was a great season,” said Coach Peifer. “I’m really proud of this team.”
The Lady Ram 8th finished the season at 19-3.
Central A&M 8-3A Regional
Meridian def. Shelbyville, 25-12, 25-27, 25-22
Ram stats: Sydney Miller 13 points, 3 aces, 8 kills, 8 digs, 1 block; Maddie Holland 9 points, 2 aces, 3 kills, 6 blocks, 5 digs; Jacque Johnston 9 points, 6 kills, 6 assists, 9 digs; Caylee Wheeler 9 points, 12 assists, 5 digs; Kary Langan 12 points, 4 digs; Torre Koontz 7 points, 2 kills, 1 assist, 8 digs, 1 block; Savannah Carswell 2 digs; Dakota Riley 1 dig.