For the third straight year, the Lady Falcons will face Addison in the state finals. Donoho won the first two and will aim for three straight state championships when the two teams meet today at the Birmingham Crossplex at 4:30 p.m.
Only one other time has a school won three straight 1A volleyball titles -- Addison in 2003-05.
Donoho won its way to the finals by defeating Athens Bible 25-16, 25-18, 25-13 in the first round and Meek 25-14, 25-18, 25-23 at the state tournament Wednesday.
After graduation losses from the previous two state champions, this Donoho team heard all about how it wasn't supposed to get this far again.
“At the beginning of the season, no one would have expected us to be in this position. I don’t even think some of our teammates did,” senior Corey Phillis said. “We’re just really excited that we have a chance to win it all again.”
Donoho coach Janice Slay said this year’s Addison team is the best of the three her squad has faced in the finals. She added Donho has the capability of winning the match, “but we’ll see if we do.”
Donoho played Addison earlier in the year and lost. Phillis said the squad has watched video of that loss.
“We saw how poorly we played them the first time,” Phillis said. “Their serves weren’t that hard, and we were shanking them. Their hits weren’t that hard, and we were shanking them. I think it was just the nerves of the name of Addison that had us unprepared. Now, we’re playing better and expect to win.”
On Wednesday, Donoho sailed through against Athens Bible, and despite the lopsided scores in the first round, Slay wasn’t overly impressed with how her team played.
Her thoughts changed when Donoho swept Meek.
"I don’t think we made any errors,” senior Rylee Segrest said. “In the previous match we made some errors, had some bad serves, but against Meek we played as a team, not individuals.”
In the first game, Donoho blew the door off the hinges after Meek gave the Falcons some problems early. With the score tied 9-9, Donoho scored 15 of the next 20 points to take the game easily.
Donoho also used late runs in the second game, but Meek battled in the third. Meek scored five straight points to tie Donoho 17-17 before the two teams traded points back and forth until they were tied 23-23. Donoho went on to score the next two points to win.
“Our hitters really pulled us through on that one. Our defense was pretty solid and I was pleased on that,” Slay said. “We still need to work on serve-receive.”
Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star