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Neal wins area title, falls short in regionals

photo by Wanda Waldrop The W.S. Neal volleyball team defeated Escambia County to win the Class 4A Region 1 title the past Tuesday.

photo by Wanda Waldrop
The W.S. Neal volleyball team defeated Escambia County to win the Class 4A Region 1 title the past Tuesday.

The W.S. Neal Eagles volleyball team was eliminated in the super regionals by Hale County, 2-3.

Neal dropped the first two sets, 21-25 and 28-30; won the next two, 25-21 and 25-14; before losing the final set, 9-15.

WSN coach Jason Blaney said he was proud how the team fought back after losing the first two sets.

“In that fifth set, we came out with so much momentum, and we hurt ourselves with multiple attack or serve errors,” said Blaney.

“The ladies fought the entire match, and I was so proud of their effort.”

Leading the team was Dinah Samuel with 18 kills, 9 service winners including 3 aces; Caitlin Stuckey, 9 kills, 6 service winners and an ace; Marishia Fraser with 7 kills, 14 service winners and 4 aces; Erin Salter with 14 service winners; Cidney Scott with 4 kills, 13 service winners and 3 aces and Kayla Ball – 30 assists

Despite what happened at regionals Blaney said what will not be lost is the team’s accomplishments over the course of the season.

“It takes nothing away from what we accomplished this year at Neal,” Blaney said.  “The most wins ever in a season and our first ever area championship.  We had five seniors that helped lead us to a 17-6 record.  Losing them is going to be tough, and they set the bar high, but we have incredible talent returning and some very talented young girls ready to step up.”

A part of the turnaround season was the winning of the area tournament. WSN defeated Escambia County 3-2 to win.

Leading Neal was Samuel with 12 kills, 15 service winners, 7 aces and 6 digs;

Scott with 10 service winners, 4 aces, 1 kill, 1 block with 5 digs; Stuckey with 11 kills; and Marishia Fraser, 8 service winners, 8 kills and 10 digs.

Stuckey and Scott were named to the Area All-Tournament. Samuel was named tournament MVP.