Everything seems to be going the Lady Knights way as the 2022 high school volleyball season winds its way to postseason play next week.
Arab, fresh off a dominating run to the Marshall County Tournament championship last week, won twice on Senior Night on Monday, with one of the wins coming against 5A, Area 14 opponent Guntersville. That completed a perfect run through region action as the state’s No. 5 Class 5A team finished 4-0 in region games, losing not one set in any match (the final state poll comes out this morning).
By virtue of winning the area, Arab will host the area tournament on Wednesday (Oct. 12). The Lady Knights (36-9 overall) will play Scottsboro at 5 p.m. Fairview and Guntersville will square off at 6 p.m., with the winners set to meet at about 7 p.m. for the area tournament championship. Admission is $8 (GoFan only).
Both teams in the final will advance to the playoffs, the winner as area champs, who will play at home in the first round, and the runner-up, who will play on the road.
Before the area tournament, Arab has one last set of games this week in south Alabama. This afternoon, the Lady Knights will play two regular season matches, against Orange Beach and Montgomery Academy, No. 2 in 5A. Then on Friday, they’ll start play in the Shrimp Festival Invitational in Gulf Shores, facing Good Hope first, then Lee-Montgomery, a 7A team.
On Saturday morning, the Lady Knights will face Enterprise, No. 3 in 7A, and then bracket play will begin.
“We feel confident going into the postseason, but continue to focus on what is next and not look ahead,” said Arab coach Amy Hudson. “That has been our focus all season.
“We don´t ever want to take any team we play for granted. We have been on a steady rise for the entire season. We get better every game. We focus on small things that we need to fine-tune and we will continue to do that until the end, whenever that may be.”
The trip to the beach will offer more opportunity for fine-tuning.
“We are focused on going to the beach and getting better,” Hudson said. “We see it as an opportunity to play state-caliber teams and we get excited about that because it only makes us better, even if we get beat.
“The team has come so far this season mentally. We are finally in a place where I can see in their eyes that they expect to win every game, no matter who is on the other side of the net.
“The higher the ranking of the opposing team, the more excited we are to play them. They have been able to maintain a cool, calm and quiet confidence about them that outsiders can see when they watch us play. The goal is to keep rising. All the way.”
After defeating Guntersville 25-22, 25-17, 25-20, the two visiting teams met. After they played, Arab honored its four seniors: Heather Skelton, Anna McFerrin, Karli Walker and Mollie Bishop.
“We are fortunate to have four amazing seniors that are not only great players, but great leaders,” Hudson said. “They all have a role and take that role serious.
“Of all the teams I´ve coached, this is the best senior leadership I´ve ever had. They hold each other accountable, they encourage, they step up in every way, every game.
“I could not be more proud to call them mine. They will be sorely missed.”
Arab then proceeded to beat Decatur 25-14, 25-7.
Last Thursday, the Arab varsity won twice at Plainview, defeating Boaz 25-11, 25-14, then Plainview 25-19, 25-10.
The JV team lost to Boaz 23-25, 20-25 then fell to Plainview 22-25, 16-25.