For the first time since 2016, the No. 7-ranked Commerce Lady Tiger volleyball team is the champion of its own Labor Day Smash Tournament after a sweep of Prairiland, the No. 1-ranked team in the state.
The victory in the Championship Game also marked the 100th victory for Head Coach Shelley Jones and seniors Mya Wilson, Landry Davidson and Allie Wittkopf, who have played on varsity since their freshman year, which was Jones’ first at Commerce.
The best-of-three tournament is held annually and co-hosted with Cumby High School.
After sweeping through pool play on Thursday, Commerce was headed to the top “Gold” bracket on Saturday.
Commerce first faced Leonard for the second time in the last week in the first game Saturday, taking an assuring win in two sets by a score of 25-10, 25-16
The next round was against Gateway Prep. Commerce was again victorious in two sets, winning 25-17, 25-18
In the Championship game, the Lady Tigers squared off against Prairiland, who had lost only one game up to this point in the season. The Lady Patriots spoiled Commerce’s tournament last season when they beat the Lady Tigers in the first round of bracket play in 2018.
The first set began with chippy play back and fourth, and the teams were tied at 4-4 in the early going. At this point, the Lady Tigers won the next four points to take a lead, but it would not be made easy for them. Commerce’s lead would not go past four until the score was 19-15, when the Lady Tigers reeled off a few points in a row to break the game open. They went on to finish the job, taking the first set 25-18.
The second set saw a similar scene, with the score tied at 4-4. This time, Prairliand took the lead. But they could not build on their lead like Commerce did previously. The Lady Tigers took the lead at 8-7 and the Lady Pats fought back at 11-10. But Commerce regained the lead at 16-15 and didn’t look back, finishing off the set with a 25-20 win and a tournament championship, handing Prairiland their second loss of the season.
Across Saturday's three games, Savannah Shaw led the team with 18 points, four blocks and 33 digs. Allie Wittkopf had 17 points, six aces and 15 kills. Mya Wilson had 17 points and 33 digs.
Landry Davidson score 15 points and had 24 assists while Emma Dobbs had 11 points and 28 assists.
Jones said that the team has really come into their own the past few weeks.
“The girls play smart, and they were smart out there today,” Jones said. “They now know what they are capable of.”
The wins bring the Lady Tigers to a record of 16-7 on the season. They will stay at home for their next contest against Sunnyvale, which is scheduled for Sept. 3.