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W.S. Neal tops Escambia County in volleyball

The W.S. Neal Eagles volleyball team defeated the Escambia County Lady Blue Devils in three straight sets Tuesday night. The Lady Eagles won the first set 25-23, the second set 25-11, and the final set 25-20.
W.S. Neal head coach Jeff Haney liked what he saw out of his team.
“We played a pretty consistent game,” Haney said. “I think our serve was probably our biggest thing in the game. They had trouble receiving it, so serving was probably the best thing for us.”
He noted that Gracee Dixon had an especially strong serve throughout the game.
Escambia County head coach Janice Kidd was disappointed by the results but remains hopeful in her young team.
“We didn’t play as good as we wanted to play today,” Kidd said. “We should have played better. I think [our team] did pretty good. They stayed in it.”
Asked what are the things she hopes to improve upon, she said, “Blocking and hitting—those are the areas they struggled with. But you gotta’ understand a young team is going to struggle with things like that.”
W.S. Neal improved to 5-8 overall with the win Tuesday.
In set one, Gracee Dixon had six service points and three aces while Tykeria Nolan had three service points.
Jodi Busby, Jasmine Crook, and Stephanie Lambert each had two kills.
In set two, Karissa Johnson had six service points and one ace, Kaitlin Hadaway had six service points and one ace and Busby had five service points and one ace. Dixon also added two aces.
Lambert led the way with three kills, Crook added two kills, and Busby added one kill.
In set three, Johnson had six service points and two aces and Dixon added three service points.
Crook had three kills in the final set along with a block. Lambert had two kills and Johnson and Busby added one kill each.
“This was a win that we desperately needed as a team,” Haney said. “Our confidence has been shaken over the last couple of weeks and a win might be just what we needed to pull out of our slump. I don’t think we played our best volleyball of the season, but we did several things well in the game. I thought our hustle was outstanding. The ECHS girls were very athletic and hustled for every ball. I think we out-hustled them and that was a key to the victory. Our serves were also big for us tonight. Gracee Dixon and Kaitlin Hadaway served well throughout the match and Karissa Johnson also had some big serves for us and was able to go on a couple of good service runs. We still have some things that we really need to improve on, but I think we did play a great deal better than we have been.”
W.S. Neal was set to play Cottage Hill Thursday at home and will be back in action Tuesday at home against Monroe County. W.S. Neal will travel to Monroe County Thursday. Both games are set to begin at 4:30 p.m. and will be varsity only games.
On Saturday, Oct. 13, W.S. Neal will play in the Escambia County Tournament that is set to be held at JDCC. Information from the county tournament was not known as of press time.
(Atmore Advance sports editor Erick Hilkert contributed to this story)