Madison- Area schools are well represented in the latest state rankings among the high school volleyball action. Both Bob Jones and James Clemens are in the top 10 while Sparkman is among the schools listed as nominated in Class 7A. Madison Academy continues to make its place among the elite schools in the top 10 in Class 4A.
The latest rankings have McGill-Toolen No. 1 in Class 7A with Bob Jones third and James Clemens seventh ranked. In Class 4A, after starting the season as No. 1, the defending Class 4A state champion Madison Academy Mustangs is listed at No. 4 while St. James moved up to No.1. St. James was the team the Mustangs defeated 27-25, 25-20, and 25-21 in the state finals a season ago.
The Patriots of Bob Jones began the season at No. 2, but suffered a couple tough losses in recent tournaments while the James Clemens Jets clawed its way among the top 10 through some quick improvement in its play in the first half of the season.
In the first of the two head-to-head regular season meetings, Bob Jones defeated James Clemens on the Jets’ home court 2-0 with scores of 25-18 and 25-10. The two squads met again in pool play of the recent Huntsville Ironman Tournament and again Bob Jones toppled the Jets 2-1 with scores of 25-20, 18-25 and 17-15. The two schools are scheduled to meet again during the regular season at Bob Jones on Oct. 3.
James Clemens posted a recent 8-4 mark during one week of action including wins over eighth ranked Spain Park and nearby Sparkman. In the Ironman Tournament, the Jets were 6-3 overall with victories over Geraldine, Class 6A top ranked Hazel Green, Class 4A top ranked Danville and fourth ranked Mountain Brook. The Jets had 64 aces in the tournament led by 12 from both Sarah Cook and Jamie Benesh.
Madison Academy started 0-4, but has recently posted a couple wins before having several matches postponed. The Mustangs were scheduled to have three matches this week before heading out to a two-day tournament in Kentucky.
The 2017 regular season began with the first allowed contests on Aug. 31. Post-season action will tip off Oct. 23 and 24 with Area Tournaments followed by Super Regional Tournaments Oct. 26-28. The AHSAA State Tournament is scheduled for Nov. 1-2 at the Birmingham CrossPlex.
Bob Jones has won two state titles, both in Class 6A before the formation of Class 7A, in 2008 and 2013 behind the guidance of head coach April Marsh. James Clemens is coached by Amanda Smith, Madison Academy by Mandy Kerce and Sparkman by Jessie Brooks.
By Bob Labbe