HANCEVILLE – Wallace State’s freshman-laden volleyball team has secured the program’s sixth consecutive Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC) regular season championship. And, as they’ve done all season in important matches, the Lions clinched the title with a thrilling victory, edging Faulkner State 21-25, 25-21, 25-20, 15-25, 15-13 at Tom Drake Coliseum on Thursday night.
The Lions entered the season with 11 freshmen, easily making it the largest contingent of newcomers that coach Randy Daniel has had in recent years. Many came through during pressure situations against the Sun Chiefs.
Taylor Traglia finished with 30 assists and six digs, Syretha Pride tallied 20 kills, four blocks and two digs, BreAnna Thompson added 17 kills and four digs and libero Payton Norris collected 21 digs.
“It’s been a grind at times this season, but I thought for the most part we played well (against Faulkner State). We’ve focused all season on playing more consistent, more aggressive and not so timid,” Daniel said. “I’ve pushed them all year, and the maturity level has gotten better lately. All of our freshmen are finding their role, getting better and finding a way to help the team win.”
As regular season champ, the Lions earn the top seed and receive a bye during the conference tournament, scheduled for Nov. 2-3 at Wallace State. They’ll be seeking their fifth ACCC tournament title in a row.
Faulkner State made Wallace State earn its latest title. The Lions couldn’t muster any momentum during the opening set, eventually falling by four points. Wallace State jumped out to leads of 9-4 and 17-13 in the second set and held on for a 25-21 win to even things up.
Wallace State (23-12, 13-0 ACCC) broke a 16-16 tie in the third set, finishing with a 9-4 run to earn a 25-20 win. Faulkner State never trailed in the fourth set, finishing the game out in strong fashion.
Wallace State returned the favor in the fifth and final set. The Lions scooted out to an 8-4 advantage and extended it to 14-10 before closing out the 15-13 win.
“Faulkner State is very, very good. I told the girls that Faulkner State wasn’t going to quit. Every time it seemed we had a lead, Faulkner State came right back,” Daniel said. “We fought hard to win this one in order to earn the championship. It’s hard to win a regular season championship because you have to win on an opponent’s home court. I’m proud of our team for fighting hard all season. We didn’t want to have the conference title hanging in the balance next week at Gadsden.”
For Wallace State, sophomore Kianna Delaney added 13 kills, nine digs and two blocks in the win, Montana Clark had 10 kills, Rosemary Wendel finished with eight digs and Nicole Penny contributed 15 assists.
Delaney, Penny and Blaise Brown, the team’s three sophomores, were recognized after the match. Delaney and Penny have been part of 55 wins in less than two seasons, while Brown joined the Lions this season after transferring from Snead State.
Wallace State is hosting its own invitational over the next two days. The Lions host Spartanburg (S.C.) College and Andrew (Ga.) College today and follow with matches Saturday against Vincennes (Ind.) University at 11 a.m. and John A. Logan (Ill.) College at 3 p.m.
For more information about Wallace State athletics, visit wallacestate.edu.
Wallace State Community College
P.O. Box 2000, Hanceville, AL 35077
1-866-350-9722 256-352-8443 direct
Visit us online at www.wallacestate.edu