HANCEVILLE, ALA. – Wallace State's volleyball team breezed through the 2016 Alabama Community College Conference (ACCC)/Region 22 tournament, capping it Sunday with an eighth consecutive tournament championship at Tom Drake Coliseum.
Wallace State sophomore Cierra Davis was named tournament MVP, and the Lions beat Faulkner State for the second time in as many days, winning 25-20, 25-16, 25-15.
With several former Wallace State players in attendance who have been a part of the extended championship run, the Lions (38-2) added another impressive chapter to the dominance.
"You have to give credit to our team for playing hard all season and especially over these past three days. We are 38-2 and 36 of those wins were three-set victories. We went through the conference schedule and didn't lose a set. Those numbers are what make this group different from the other ones," said Wallace State coach Randy Daniel, the winningest coach in program history. "This group hates to surrender a point and is disappointed if the other team reaches the 20's. They don't like losing at all and it shows."
Davis, a 6-foot outside hitter from Sparkman, has been the most versatile player for Wallace State all season, maintaining a dominant presence on both the front and back rows. Davis entered the tournament with 279 digs and 257 kills for the Lions and registered double digits in digs in three tournament matches, including 15 against Faulkner State on Saturday and 22 on Sunday.
"You can't put a value on the leadership Cierra gives us on the court. She means a lot and is probably a better player than people realize. She definitely deserves to be the tournament MVP," said Daniel, the 2016 ACCC Coach of the Year.
Davis, who also registered 15 kills on Sunday, was surprised to earn MVP honors.
"Words can't describe how excited I am. We have such a desire to win. I've never been around a team where every person on the roster is as competitive as we are," said Davis, who drinks a Pepsi before every match as her pregame ritual.
Wallace State opened the tournament by sweeping Southern Union on Friday and Faulkner State on Saturday. The Sun Chiefs worked their way back to Sunday's title game for the second straight season before the Lions put a lid on a perfect tournament.
Wallace State earned the tournament's top seed after not dropping a single set in conference play, winning their ninth consecutive regular-season championship. The Lions also closed regular season action by winning their 40 straight ACCC match, a stretch dating back to Oct. 2013.
Wallace State's Kelsea Bivins, Abby Borden and MaKenzie Bearden joined Davis on the all-tournament team.
Bivins had 13 kills in the championship match, Borden had 40 assists and 11 digs, libero Emily Wilson added 15 digs, Kaylee Maddox had seven kills and Kati Thomas contributed five kills and three digs.
Davis, Bivins, Bearden, August Newberry, Tara Miller and Jamie Pittman are the Wallace State sophomores who won their second straight championship on Sunday.
"It's a special feeling and a major accomplishment we'll never take for granted," said Bivins, the 2016 ACCC Player of the Year.
Winning their first championships with the Lions are sophomores Alicia Charles, Holly Posey and McCall Morrow and the following freshmen: Borden, Wilson, Maddox, Thomas, Jessica Lucio, Macy Smith and Caroline Gann.
With the victory, Wallace State advances to the NJCAA Division I volleyball national tournament to be held in Casper, Wyo., on Nov. 17-19. It will mark the Lions eighth consecutive national tournament appearance.
"You never know what's going to happen at nationals. This team definitely has the chemistry and talent to make some noise. I hope they do because they deserve it," Daniel said.
Added Bivins: "We have the talent to play well. We just have to be mentally prepared."
Named to the All-Tournament Team was Kearra Scott (Lawson State), Maddie Putman (Snead State), Summer Hinton (Gadsden State), Mikayla Wambles (Southern Union), De'Shanna Johnson (Southern Union), Kelsea Bivins (Wallace State), Abby Borden (Wallace State), MaKenzie Bearden (Wallace State), Rebekah Porche (Faulkner State), Tatiana Dale (Faulkner State), Lydia Stanley (Faulkner State).
ACCC Volleyball Tournament Most Valuable Player
Cierra Davis - Wallace State