Class 6A volleyball: Bayside Academy overtakes Spanish Fort for 21st straight state title
There are no more superlatives to describe the absolute dominance of Bayside Academy’s volleyball program after extending its national leadership title streak.
Toss the verbose word books aside and start over.
Brutal. Dominant. Dynasty.
The second-ranked Admirals can celebrate another milestone with their state title winning streak, reaching legal drinking age after a 3-2 victory over rival Baldwin County and Fort 3-ranked Spaniard, 20-25, 25-22, 21-25, 25-11 and 15-12, in the 2022 AHSAA Class 6A title match on Thursday at the Bill Harris Arena in Birmingham.
“I am extremely proud. We give all the honor and glory to God,” Bayside Academy coach Ann Schilling said. “They realized they had a fight in them when we came back and did a reverse week at super regionals with Northridge. That was probably our toughest challenge, convincing them we could do it.
Bayside Academy (53-13) not only wins its 21st consecutive state championship, going from Class 2A to Class 5A, before moving into Class 6A this season, but the Admirals have now won 31 volleyball titles- ball in total spanning five decades and six classifications.
Consecutive streak of state titles, total number of state titles and titles won through rankings extends Bayside Academy’s national high school records.
The last time Bayside Academy didn’t win a state title was the 2001 season – ending in a loss to Geraldine in the Class 2A semi-finals. The Admirals have won 148 of their last 150 state tournament games.
“It’s hard to repeat, and we’ve done it 21 times,” Schilling said. “It’s unbelievable and unbelievable.”
Blakeley Robbins earned tournament MVP honors by leading the Admirals with 57 assists in the title game, adding 11 digs, 4 eliminations and 4 aces.
“I was like, ‘I gotta have this, I gotta have this,'” Robbins said.
Spanish Fort got the better of the Admirals to open the final set, taking a 4-1 lead before Bayside Academy called a much needed time out. Coming out of the break, the Admirals led a 9-4 run to take a 10-8 lead and eventually established match point with a 14-10 lead. The lead was reduced to two points, but a Georgia McInnis kill clinched the set for Bayside Academy, extending their state title streak.
The Toros (46-15) broke a tie at 6 in the first set and took a 12-8 lead on a 6-2 run. The Admirals managed to shoot within two points, but Spanish Fort took a 25-20 victory in the first set. The third set also belonged to the Toros, opening up a 9-5 lead and never trailing in the 25-21 victory.
“Super proud of my team. They really had a great season,” Spanish Fort coach Gretchen Boykin said. “They came together and played like an amazing team. It’s hard not being able to finish it. We beat (Bayside Academy) in regionals and regionals, and it’s tough when you have two great teams and only one can win.
Bayside Academy tied the game at 1-1 after the second set, rallying from a 10-5 deficit on an 8-0 run to take an 18-13 lead. The Toros came within two runs twice in the final moments, but Haley Robinson’s kill ended the set. Faced with another early tie in the fourth set, the Admirals broke free on an 11-4 run and closed the frame with a decisive 8-1 run to force a fifth and final set.
Stat sheet: Haley Robinson led the Admirals with 19 kills, followed by Misty Kate Smith with 14 kills, adding 15 digs to the side. Maysie Douglas had 13 kills, Georgia McInnis added 11 kills and Mary Whitehurst finished with 34 digs and 2 aces. Grier Broughton contributed 21 digs, 3 kills and 2 aces, and Lucy Fralle added 10 digs.
For the Toros, Reese Varden led the way with 21 kills, followed by Bailey Hope with 8 kills, including 27 digs. Taylor Ishmael and Mary Lyles both managed 7 wins each, with the latter adding 35 digs. Alexis Belarmino finished with 45 assists, 17 digs, 2 kills and 2 aces, Delaney Clough with 21 digs,
All Tournament Team: Teammates Robinson and Smith joined Robbins (MVP) on the All-Tournament team, along with Belarmino, Hope and Varden from Spanish Fort.