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LBMS volleyball team wins first-ever SMAC title

The Lake Butler Middle School volleyball players, coaches and managers are: (front) Lake Harris, (second row, l-r) Tanner Canada, Mackenzie Davidson, Mekayla Smith, Abigail Ripplinger, assistant coach Megan Thornton, (third row, l-r) assistant coach Susie Crawford, Kyler Herndon, Erica Faulkner, Kylie Stevens, (back row, l-r) head coach Julee Ricketson, Madison Adams, Madelyn Kish, Madison Rimes, Taylor Beatty, Alli Perez, Ashley Harris, Lauren Britt, Teala Howard and Sara Owen.

The Lake Butler Middle School volleyball players, coaches and managers are: (front) Lake Harris, (second row, l-r) Tanner Canada, Mackenzie Davidson, Mekayla Smith, Abigail Ripplinger, assistant coach Megan Thornton, (third row, l-r) assistant coach Susie Crawford, Kyler Herndon, Erica Faulkner, Kylie Stevens, (back row, l-r) head coach Julee Ricketson, Madison Adams, Madelyn Kish, Madison Rimes, Taylor Beatty, Alli Perez, Ashley Harris, Lauren Britt, Teala Howard and Sara Owen.


BY CLIFF SMELLEY

Regional News/Sports Editor

Madison Rimes’ tip at the net resulted in euphoria, school history and a 2-1 (25-17, 14-25, 15-12) win for the Lake Butler Middle School volleyball team over P.K. Yonge in the Suwannee Middle School Athletic Conference championship match on Oct. 21 in Lake Butler.

Rimes’ tip provided not only the match-winning point, but Lake Butler’s first-ever SMAC title in volleyball. The Tigers, who went 7-3 during the regular season, were conference runners-up the past two seasons.

Lake Butler head coach Julee Ricketson said her players earned the win because of the way they carry themselves on and off the court.

“They’re excellent role models in the classroom and on the court,” Ricketson said. “They work very hard and stay composed under pressure.”

That composure helped the Tigers, who had to bounce back from a 25-14 loss in the second set and finally come out on top in what proved to be a neck-and-neck tiebreaker set.

The match started off on a positive note for the Tigers, who gradually increased an 11-7 lead in the first set. Two service points each from Erica Faulkner and Madison Adams helped Lake Butler go up 18-10 before Madelyn Kish held serve for four points. Rimes added another service point before an attack error on P.K. Yonge gave the Tigers the 25-17 win.

Three service points by Adams gave Lake Butler a 4-1 lead in the second set, but the Blue Wave rallied to take a lead and hold it throughout the majority of the set.

The Tigers found themselves trailing 9-7 in the third set, but tied the score on two service points by Lauren Britt. One of those points came on a kill by Kish.

With P.K. Yonge leading 11-10, the Tigers scored two points behind the serve of Taylor Beatty. Beatty had an ace, while Kish had a kill.

Kish would later add another kill to force a side-out and give Lake Butler the serve with a 13-12 lead. The Tigers closed the match out with Adams serving. Ashley Harris had a nice dig to keep play alive during a sequence that ended in an attack error by P.K. Yonge before Rimes’ tip put an end to the match and started the celebration.

To reach the SMAC title game for the third straight year, the Tigers defeated Williston 2-1 (25-22, 19-25, 15-10) in a semifinal match on Oct. 18. Kish and Rimes had several kills each off of assists from Adams, while Harris contributed with several key serves. Kyler Herndon held serve for what would be the match-winning point.

Madison Adams keeps the ball in play.

Madison Adams keeps the ball in play.

Madison Adams keeps the ball in play.

Madison Adams keeps the ball in play.

Madelyn Kish gets up for a spike.

Madelyn Kish gets up for a spike.

Lake Butler’s Ashley Harris makes a play in the back row.

Lake Butler’s Ashley Harris makes a play in the back row.

Ashley Harris receives a P.K. Yonge serve.

Ashley Harris receives a P.K. Yonge serve.

Lake Butler’s Ashley Harris makes a play in the back row.

Lake Butler’s Ashley Harris makes a play in the back row.

Lake Butler’s Lauren Britt passes the ball.

Lake Butler’s Lauren Britt passes the ball.

Taylor Beatty serves for the Tigers.

Taylor Beatty serves for the Tigers.

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