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Westminster Christian Academy wins second straight State Volleyball Championship
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Senior Meg Paparella opened strong with six of her match-high 19 kills in the first set as Westminster Christian downed a fierce Arab team 25-23, 26-24, 25-13 to claim the AHSAA 2022 Class 5A state volleyball championship at the Birmingham CrossPlex Bill Harris Arena Wednesday.
For Coach Holly Richards and her Wildcats, it was the second state title in a row. Westminster (47-9) won the 4A crown in 2021, moved to Class 5A this season and closed strong to claim the state crown in their new classification.
“They’ve been a group of determined girls, and that mindset right there shows a determined bunch of girls really showed through, Richards said after the match. “That’s the third time we’ve played Arab, and that’s the first time we haven’t dropped a set.”
Paparella was named the Class 5A state tourney MVP finishing with nine digs.
“We felt it last year and we knew we wanted to feel it again, so from day one we just were determined,” Paparella said after the match.
Callie Tanielu added 13 kills and five digs, and setter Paislee Shelton distributed 34 assists. Brianna Tinsley also served three aces.
“I’m really proud of my team because we overcame a lot,” Tanielu said after the match. “I think that has a lot to do with the fans, our parents and coach Holly (Richards) pushed us to all get here. We’ve overcome a lot of obstacles and showed a lot of perseverance.”
Arab (49-14) was playing in the school’s first-ever state volleyball championship match. The Lady Knights of Coach Amy Hudson played toe-to-toe with the Wildcats in the first set but found themselves down 21-10 in the second set. Arab then reeled off nine straight points to cut the margin to 21-19. Westminster persevered the rally to win 26-24 and found off another Arab rally in the final set to claim the title.
Laney Kelley had 16 kills and Karli Walker had eight for Arab. Setter Amy McFerrin had 37 assists, Sami Kate Hudson had a match high 13 digs, and Sydney Ferguson served two aces.
2022 Class 5A All-State Tourney Team
Meg Paparella, Westminster (MVP)
Calli Tanielu, Westminster
Paislee Shelton, Westminster
Anna McFerrin, Arab
Laney Kelley, Arab
Addi Vinson, Montgomery Academy.
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