The clinching point was appropriate.
After a long back-and-forth worthy of a championship point, Arab’s Karli Walker and Skylar Ledbetter went up together on the far right side of the net and together blocked a Fort Payne volley to the floor, giving Arab a 25-10 win in the first game of a 6A, Area 15 match last Thursday.
It was just one set but it was all the Lady Knights needed to clinch the area championship. Having swept Fort Payne and Scottsboro in their earlier meetings, the Lady Knights only needed to avoid getting swept to earn the host duties for next Saturday’s area tournament.
Arab went on to keep its region record unblemished, winning the next two games 25-16, 25-9 to complete yet another sweep. Arab will host the area tournament on Oct. 16, playing the winner of Scottsboro-Fort Payne at 11 a.m. Scottsboro and Fort Payne will meet at 10 a.m.
Arab coach Amy Hudson said she knew her players came ready to go against Fort Payne.
“You could see it in their faces,” she said. “Their mindset has been different since Tuesday morning.”
Last Tuesday is when Arab started slowly in the Marshall County Tournament, losing to Albertville 23-25, 18-25 in the first game of pool play. Midway through the second game, against Guntersville, Hudson had seen enough.
“They had a good talking to, saying it nicely,” she said.
From that point on – even though they went on to lose to Guntersville 21-25, 25-18, 12-15 – the Lady Knights were a different team, according to Hudson. They beat Boaz in the last game of pool play. 25-18, 25-18, then roared past Brindlee Mountain, Guntersville and Boaz, all in straight sets.
They kept that momentum going Tuesday night at Geraldine, defeating Ider 25-11, 25-11; Southside 25-14, 25-17; and Geraldine 25-23, 27-25 to improve to 35-21 on the season.
The Lady Knights will compete in the Shrimp Festival Tournament at Foley this weekend, then will play at Daphne on Monday.
“Our goal is to get better, get ready for the postseason and gain some confidence,” Hudson said.
Four Lady Knights made the Marshall County All-Tournament team: Ella Ingram, Ledbetter, Walker and Moree McDonald. Walker was the MVP.
The rest of the all-tournament team included Jess Bobo, Emma Smith and Amylia Langley from Boaz; Kelsie Tyler from Brindlee Mountain; Kayla Lindsay from Asbury; Mallory Ackles from Douglas; Georgia Giles and Madi Jones from Guntersville; Chloe Walker from DAR; and Sarah Rutledge from Albertville.
The Arab varsity also defeated Albertville last Thursday, 25-23, 25-12.
Other members of the Lady Knights are Heather Skelton, Sami Kate Hudson, Tatum Monroe, Anna McFerrin, Laney Kelley and Sydney Ferguson.
• The JV Lady Knights beat Fort Payne 25-5, 15-17 and Albertville 25-17, 22-25, 17-15.
Members of coach Mallory Church’s JV Lady Knights – who also won the county tournament last week ¬–are Hannah Poston, Ava Kinney, Marissa Pope, Jacey Wood, Addison Harrell, Alyssa Toth, Bennett Elrod, Brenley Hanners, Camilla Jane Burke, Lexi Mann and Karissa Elledge.
• The seventh grade Lady Knights defeated Guntersville 2-0 last Thursday. The eighth grade team lost, 1-2.