The Bell volleyball team finished fourth at this past weekend’s Lady Bulldog Invitational.
Taylor (Pierson), which dropped down from Class 3A to 1A this season, won the tournament in a close three-set win over St. John Lutheran (Ocala), 22-25, 25-22, 15-7.
The Wildcats (10-2), who went 4-0 at the LBI, also won a tight, hard-fought game over a very good Oak Hall School (Gainesville) team on Friday night, and they were able to clinch the No. 1 seed in their pool B.
St. John Lutheran won the No. 1 seed in pool A with a three-set win over Bell. The Bulldogs lost 2-1 to the Class 2A Saints (10-3) to finish with the No. 2 seed in Pool A, which included Chiefland and Crescent City.
“I thought it was a great, competitive tournament as usual,” said Bell volleyball coach Drue Barry. “There were a lot of close matches that the games went either three sets or the scores were pretty close.”
On Friday, Bell lost to Columbia, 2-1, but defeated Crescent City, 2-0.
Area teams Oak Hall School (Gainesville) and Columbia (Lake City) finished second and third, respectively, in Pool B.
Then on Saturday, Bell defeated Chiefland, 2-0, and lost to St John Lutheran, 2-1, to finish 2-2 in pool play.
The Class 1A Bulldogs (8-8) lost to 2A Oak Hall (13-6), 2-0, in the 3rd-place game to finish fourth overall behind the Eagles.
“We did a lot of good things this weekend,” Barry said. “We are still trying to find the right lineup combination that works the best for us. We have a lot of inexperience on the court, but they are growing up fast.”
The LBI was a good test for Bell as it gets ready for a postseason run in late October and November.
“I have high expectations for all my players and want them to compete at the level I know they are capable of competing at,” Barry said. “We played St. John Lutheran even in our match which decided the No. 1 seed in our pool. St. John’s then lost to Taylor in a very close three-match set for the championship.”
Bell is back in action tonight for a district game. The Bulldogs (3-0 in 1A-District 6) will travel to Chiefland, which finished sixth at the LBI, at 6:30 p.m.
“We are very close to where we need to be, we just need to learn to finish,” Barry said. “We are undefeated in our district and our side of the region, so I feel pretty good with that. But this is a crazy year where all the teams in our area are close, so you have to bring your best game every night.”
The Lady Bulldogs and Barry will be guests on “The Prep Zone” sports show at Sonic Drive-In this Wednesday from 7-8 p.m. You can listen to the show on 106.9 FM “I am Country” and online at IamCountryRadio.com.
LBI order of finish:
Taylor (Pierson) – Champions
St John Lutheran (Ocala)
Oak Hall School (Gainesville)
Columbia (Lake City)