By Matthew Harrell
Goliath won this one.
The Bulldogs put their pebble in their sling and slung it with all of their might, but, instead of sinking into the giant’s skull, it was blocked by Sneads’ 6-foot-1 middle blocker, Michaela Edenfield, who had had 12 kills and a block for the Pirates and got hands on what felt like every Bell attack.
Despite a strong start, the Bulldogs did not have enough firepower to match Sneads’ size and strength and the Pirates shut down Bell’s shot at winning the school’s first state championship.
The Bulldogs’ start gave the team and the large contingent of fans that made the four-plus-hour trip some optimism. After falling behind 2-0, the Bulldogs reeled off five straight points and had the Pirates in disarray forcing their first-year head coach, Heather Brinkmeier, to call a timeout.
Bell was then able to withstand a few short runs by Sneads and held a 16-15 lead in the latter part of the opening set.
But the Pirates came back with a 10-1 run to close the set and take full control of the momentum and the match, and they would never relinquish that control en route to a 25-17, 25-14, 25-8 win for the Pirates’ sixth state title in a row.
“I felt like, in the first game, we had that ‘refuse to lose’ attitude and we were going to go down swinging,” said junior outside hitter Jillian Cassube. “It didn’t carry over to the second set.”
Edenfield and the rest of the Pirates’ front row forced the Bulldogs into one of their worst offensive showings of the year, limiting the Bulldogs to an attacking percentage of .000 with 20 kills and 20 errors on 85 attacks.
Meanwhile, Sneads had a .384 attacking percentage, totaling 41 kills and just eight errors on 86 attacks.
“We’re tremendously proud and honored to be that first team [to reach a state championship game],” Bell Head Coach Lisa Barry said. “We were hoping for a little more today, but we’re very proud.”
As runners-up, the Bulldogs had to do their press availability first. During that time, Barry said the Bulldogs had the young talent they need to reach this stage again. “This is not the last time you’ll see Bell at this table,” she said. “And next time, you’ll be interviewing us second.”
(Photo by Donny Joiner)
Bell Volleyball Runners-Up in Class 1-A State Championship
By Matthew Harrell