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Home Sweet Home 10/8/21

Home Sweet Home 

By Kevin Taylor

Alma Schools 


Trying to understand Alma’s home court volleyball advantage is like trying to figure out volleyball momentum. 


Alma coach Kimberly Weaver believes it comes to love. 


“What I’m learning about these girls is they play their best when they feel the love, and when they’re at home they feel the love,” Weaver said. “They feel the love from their parents, from our amazing fans, and from the administration … 


“But at this level of the show, we’ve got to take it on the road; that’s the next step for us.”


Two days after trailing Siloam Springs, 12-0, in the fourth and deciding set of a 3-1 loss, Alma responded with a methodical 25-23, 25-21, 25-20 victory against Russellville that never seemed in doubt. 


“We struggled so much on Tuesday against Siloam Springs,” Weaver said. “That’s some tenacity and grit we’ve been wanting to see all season.”


Junior Jenna Williams got the memo. 


The versatile standout had 14 kills and 22 digs to pace the Lady Airedales to their fourth conference win in five home games. 


“Playing at home, usually we have a pretty packed gym,” Williams said. “It’s a lot more enclosed and it’s very loud. The energy is kind of infectious; the more energy you have helps us play better.


“If you don’t have energy, you kind of look like zombies.”


The student body seemed to be in it from the start Thursday as the Lady Airedales zoomed ahead, 7-3, in the first set. 


Then, every time Russellville began to chip away, or in this case, grab a late lead (23-22), Alma seemed to have an answer. 


Williams had only five hitting errors as the Lady improved to 9-15 overall and 4-6 in the 5A-West. 


“She played well defensively and just brought it offensively,” Weaver said. “She played with intelligence that we’ve known she’s had. Obviously, confidence plays a big part in that.


“She had big swings in big moments, and that shows that she’s a big player for us.”


Williams and Jocelyn Harless combined for 42 digs in all, with Harless finishing with 20. She, too, stepped up in the team’s first win over Russellville since Sept. 26, 2017. 


In addition, Julia Nutt and Kristen Lindley added 12 and 10 digs, respectively, for the Lady Airedales. 


Mia Nichols had eight kills for the winners, and Rebekah McIntosh and Samantha Crook had four apiece. Rachel James and Nutt finished with 16 and 15 assists, respectively. 


And the crowd? 


“I think a lot of times volleyball is kind of a smaller sport, where just the parents come and watch,” Williams said.”But having our student body here, with our football players and basketball players here to support us, I think it shows that they want to win just as much as we do. When they’re here, we need to be there supporting them as well.”