Bob Jones runs through matches with Florence, James Clemens to claim Class 7A Area 7 title
MADISON – The Bob Jones Lady Patriots volleyball team imposed its will on Thursday at home as it cruised to the 3-0 (25-14, 25-14, 25-16) victory against James Clemens in the Class 7A Area 7 Championship.
Bob Jones (49-2), the top team in the state, ran through Florence in the Semi-Final Round 3-0 (25-12, 25-18, 25-15) to play in the Championship Round against the winner of the match that followed between Austin and James Clemens.
The Lady Jets of James Clemens (18-18) took down Austin (21-28) in the second of the Semi-Final Round 3-1 (25-21, 18-25, 25-23, 25-12) to face the Lady Patriots the same night.
The JC vs Austin match did not lack excitement as the two schools battled each other with their respective seasons hanging in the balance.
The first set was tightly contested as the Lady Jets traded points with the Lady Black Bears throughout the set.
There were ties at 5-5 and then 7-7 before James Clemens’ outside hitter Maja Sullivan knotted the match up at 9-9 with a kill.
Sullivan was a force in the match for the Lady Jets as she rarely came out of the first couple of sets.
Back-to-back aces by James Clemens’ Adley Willis gave her team points 17 and 18 to lead 18-13.
A key block by the Lady Jets at set point gave the girls from County Line Road the first set 25-21.
The second set was tied at 18-18 before Austin rattled off eight consecutive points to even the match at 1-1 overall with the 25-18 win in set two.
The third set was just epic.
It was like watching a sports movie with all the back-and-forth drama mixed with excitement.
Austin took the lead and appeared to take off with it going up 5-0, but James Clemens bounced back after a timeout to nip at the Lady Black Bears’ heels.
The set finally squared up at 8-8 and it would virtually stay that way until the end as one side would make a play for a point and the other school would storm back to tie the set up in a flash.
It was a montage of 9-9 that became 11-11, followed by 13-13, 14-14, 15-15 until a 19-19 and 20-20.
The girls were breathing hard and cheering even harder for each other as the set climbed into the final points.
JC’s Kaitlin Cardinale crushed a ball for a timely kill to make it 21-20 only to see it squared up at 21-21.
Something had to give here.
The set was tied at 23-23 when Cardinale obliterated another ball over the net for the 24th point.
Everything was so razor thin.
Every dig mattered, every set mattered, and every girl was leaving it all out there on the court.
Lady Jet Kayden Gray rose up and struck the ball downward for that all-important kill that handed James Clemens the 25-23 third-set win.
Gray, who had been making key plays during the entire match, came back to the court with the stone-faced look of someone who knew they were going to get it done for their team as the girls celebrated around her with glee.
After all of that excitement, James Clemens still needed to win one more set and the Lady Jets had so much momentum that they blew out a fading Austin team in the fourth and final set 25-12.
This semifinal win for JC placed it into the area final with the mighty Bob Jones after a short break.
For a complete breakdown of the 7A Area 7 Championship game between Bob Jones and James Clemens, be sure to pick up a print copy of the Madison Record on Wednesday, Oct. 25.