Sparks close out volleyball season as regular-season, tournament champs

PICKENS — The Pickens Middle School volleyball team capped off the season by winning its end of the year tournament recently under first year head coach Mellie Crumpton.

It was the first tournament victory for the Sparks (16-2) in four years. The Sparks had a first-round bye in the tournament due to winning the regular season title with a 12-1 record.

The Sparks then defeated Liberty 15-25, 25-18, 15-3 in the second round. In the third round, Pickens defeated R.C. Edwards 25-22, 25-17. The win avenged the only regular season loss for the Sparks. Pickens then advanced to the championship round by defeating Gettys 25-19, 25-17. Gettys won the loser’s bracket to earn the right to face Pickens once again in the championship round, where the Breakers would have to defeat Pickens twice. Gettys won the first round 25-17, 25-22, but Pickens prevailed in the rematch 25-14, 25-15 to win the tournament.

“I thought my girls played great as a team throughout the tournament,” said Crumpton. “We had some girls step up when we really needed it. Abbey Ellison had her best hitting and serving match of the year in the finals. Allison Dickard played excellent at the net. Our setters, Karlee Underhill and Chloe Dunaway, also did a fantastic job.”

Crumpton also complimented the play of Maddie Grant, Lillian Hendricks and seventh grader Bryn Westbrook.

“We got some clutch serving from Lillian and Bryn,” said Crumpton. “Maddie also had some timely kills for us.”