REPORT BY JIMMY LAY / al.com
VIDEO BY ROCKETCITYSPORTS.COM
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Class 7A No. 1 Bob Jones started the defense of its 2013 state title with wins over No. 4 Grissom and No. 5 Huntsville in a tri-match Thursday.
The Patriots beat Grissom 25-27, 25-14, 15-6 in their first match, led by James Clemens transfer Haley Hop, who had 13 kills.
“I think we had a lot of nerves in game one, being our first match of the season, but once we got the momentum that we needed we settled down and were able to get to every ball," Hop said. “I’ve been just so lucky that these girls have welcomed me and I have never felt like an outsider to a team that just won state last year.”
The Patriots were also led by Melaina Hissam with 10 digs and Alex King with 3 blocks. Isabelle Barnes recorded nine kills, Rachel Shockey had three aces and Erin Shockey had 26 asists.
Grissom was led by Aubrie Huddleston with 10 kills, Madison McGriff with 6 digs and Hannah Fernandez with 2 blocks.
In the second match, Bob Jones defeated rival Huntsville 24-26, 25-18, 15-7 in a rematch of the 2013 Class 6A state finals. Once again the Patriots dropped the first game but were able to settle down and win the last two, led by Hop with 11 kills and three aces and Emily Hatcher with three blocks.
King added nine kills, Hissam had 10 digs and Erin Shockey had 29 assists.
Anna Hahneman had eight digs for Huntsville.
Patriots head coach April Marsh was pleased with the way her team battled back in both matches after dropping game one.
“I think our girls showed a lot of grit and never gave up, and I told them I was very proud of them,” Marsh said. “I think it’s good to open the season with a big rivalry match against two good teams that helps you find out where you are as a team.”
Grissom stopped Huntsville 25-19, 25-23 to end the match. Frances Harmon had 17 assists and Huddleston had 13 kills. Lakin Aycock added eight digs.