Volleyball teams prepare for area tournaments this week

Montgomery Academy coach Julie Gordon, senior Madi Caddell and the Eagles will be gunning for their third consecutive state championship when they open postseason play at home on Wednesday.

After placing a record number of teams in the Alabama High School Athletic Association state tournament a year ago, the area’s volleyball teams are gearing up for the first postseason step with area tournaments this week.

The top two finalists from each area tournament advance to the South regional tournament and last year, Prattville Christian and Montgomery Academy advanced out of a 3A area, LAMP and Catholic advanced out of a 4A area and St. James and Brew Tech advanced out of a 5A area, with all six teams reaching the state tournament.

This year, the Competitive Balance Factor put Montgomery Academy in 4A and St. James in 6A, while reclassification put Pike Road – which was eliminated by Prattville Christian in the area tournament semifinals – in 5A. Catholic and Trinity, meanwhile, dropped from 4A to 3A.

That creates an opportunity for eight teams to advance out of area play, but the postseason format has been changed this year because of COVID-19 concerns. First, teams must win sub-regional games against an opponent from another area before advancing to South regional competition at Garrett Coliseum.

The regionals, which will take place on Oct. 21-23, will be held at Garrett Coliseum because of ongoing construction work at the Multiplex. Teams that win their opening-round regional games and advance to the semifinals qualify for state tournament play the following week in Birmingham.

In the 3A Area 6 tournament at Prattville Christian, second-seeded Trinity (2-2 in area play) and third-seeded Catholic (0-4) will play on Tuesday at 4 p.m., with the winner facing top-seeded Prattville Christian (4-0) at 5:30 p.m.

The area tournament champion will host the runner-up from Area 4 (Opp, Pike County, New Brockton and Goshen), while the runner-up will play at the Area 4 winner. Both games will take place on Saturday.

In the 4A Area 3 tournament at Montgomery Academy, second-seeded LAMP (2-2) and third-seeded Alabama Christian (0-4) will play on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m., with the winner facing top-seeded Montgomery Academy (4-0) at 2:45 p.m.

The area tournament champion will host the runner-up from Area 5 (Montevallo, Dallas County, West Blocton and Bibb County), while the runner-up will play at the Area 5 winner. Both games will take place on Saturday.

In the 5A Area 5 tournament at Brew Tech, fourth-seeded Tallassee (0-6) will play top-seeded Brew Tech (5-1) on Wednesday at 3 p.m., followed by second-seeded Pike Road (4-2) and third-seeded Beauregard (3-3) at 4:30 p.m. The two winners will play for the tournament title at 6 p.m.

The area tournament champion will host the runner-up from Area 3 (Providence Christian, Headland, Rehobeth and Carroll), while the runner-up will play at the Area 3 winner. Both games will take place on Saturday.

In the 6A Area 3 tournament at G.W. Carver, fifth-seeded Park Crossing will face fourth-seeded Robert E. Lee on Tuesday at 1 p.m., with the winner playing top-seeded Carver at 2:30 p.m. in the semifinals. In the other semifinal, second-seeded St. James will play third-seeded Sidney Lanier at 4 p.m. The two winners will play for the tournament title at 5:30 p.m.

The area tournament champion will host the runner-up from Area 5 (Wetumpka, Benjamin Russell and Stanhope Elmore), while the runner-up will play at the Area 5 winner. Both games will take place on Friday.

The winners of the sub-regional round will advance to the regionals. For Class 6A teams, regional action will start on Wednesday (Oct. 21) at 2 p.m.; for Class 5A teams, the quarterfinals begin on Thursday (Oct. 22) at 11:30 a.m.; for Class 4A teams, regionals open play on Friday (Oct. 23) at 10 a.m.; and for Class 3A teams, opening-round regional action will take place on Thursday (Oct. 22) at 10 a.m.