HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Wallace State’s volleyball team is searching for its sixth straight conference title beginning Saturday, and the Lions have the opportunity to achieve the championship on their home court for the second consecutive season.
Wallace State is hosting the ACCC/NJCAA District O & P tournament at Tom Drake Coliseum on Nov. 1-2. Matches will be played Saturday on two courts at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. during the opening day of the tournament. Saturday’s initial matches pit third-seeded Gadsden State playing sixth-seeded Wallace-Selma and Snead State opposing Southern Union. Top-seeded Wallace State and No. 2 Faulkner State have first-round byes and play their first matches at noon.
Matches start at 10 a.m. on Sunday, and the championship match is scheduled for 2 p.m.
General admission to the double-elimination tournament is $7 for adults and $5 for senior citizens. Children under 6 are admitted free. Additionally, high school volleyball players are invited to attend at a discounted rate.
“We are elated about hosting the volleyball tournament for the second year in a row. It will be two days of highly competitive volleyball, and we encourage all sports fans to come out and watch what these teams have to offer,” said Wallace State Director of Athletics Paul Bailey. “We take pride in hosting events like these. We’ll treat it just like we do the AHSAA Northwest Regional each year and the junior college basketball tournament we hosted in March.”
Wallace State is the tournament’s top seed for the seventh year in a row after once again dominating during conference action. The Lions (32-8) went undefeated in 14 conference matches, not losing a single game to a league foe.
Three wins now separate Wallace State from adding another conference title to its collection and advancing to its sixth consecutive NJCAA Division I national tournament.
“My team is eager to start our defense of the title, and we are working at our fundamentals in preparation for a very competitive tournament. We have talked about what it will take to win the conference tournament again, and hopefully the team will rise to the challenge,” said Wallace State coach Randy Daniel, who has 288 career victories at Wallace State in his eighth season.
Daniel has been the one constant during Wallace State’s current string of successive conference championships. The championship stretch has been fueled by a host of players, including NJCAA All-American players Cassie Daniels, Taulise Dunklin, Lesley Bemis, Erica Baker and Kianna Delaney, and many other All-Region performers.
“Players come and go, but the goals for each team remain the same. We expect to be the top seed every year, and I try to recruit the type of players willing to accept that challenge to keep the streak going,” Daniel said. “It’s a great accomplishment to earn the top seed again, and for us to have earned it for the last seven years is a testament to the teams working hard in the preseason and throughout the regular season.”
A pair of sophomores on the front row are pacing the way for Wallace State this season. Syretha Pride leads the conference in three categories with 457 kills, 112 blocks and a .576 hitting percentage. Meanwhile, BreAnna Thompson is second in the league with 362 kills and a .423 hitting percentage.
Freshman Sarah Ellen Battles has compiled a team-high 622 digs, good for fourth in the conference, and sophomore Montana Clark is fifth with 450 digs.
Alexandra Gamble leads the Lions with 622 assists, Melissa-Paul Hill has 446 and Kaci Kirk has added 403.
Daniel has been recently impressed with a sophomore trio.
“BreAnna Thompson has played really well for us in the second part of our season. She has exceeded expectations and is receiving some Division I offers from her efforts. Montana Clark has been in our leader in passing and defense lately and is near the top of the conference in digs and aces,” Daniel said. “Syretha Pride has been really good for us all season. Sometime we take for granted what she does, but she consistently puts up huge numbers game after game.”
The tournament champion will advance to the NJCAA Division I volleyball national tournament to be held in Casper, Wyo., on Nov. 20-22. The runner-up will compete in the NJCAA District P playoff to be held Nov. 9 at Florida State College at Jacksonville at 11 a.m. The winner of the playoff will also advance to the national tournament.
Live tournament results can be accessed at acccathletics.com.
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