NEW ALBANY • New Albany’s Lady Bulldogs shed the monkey that has been on their back and made school volleyball history on Tuesday night.
New Albany had been eliminated the previous two years in the second round of the playoffs, but completely dominated visiting Greenwood 25-10, 25-8, 25-6 to reach the Class 4A semifinals.
The Lady Bulldogs will play Bay, a 3-1 winner over Northeast Jones, on Thursday at 2 p.m. at Mississippi State.
Tuesday’s win was especially sweet for senior libero and team leader Maggie Moore in her final appearance at Memorial Gymnasium.
“It feels so good, I’m so excited,” Moore said. “This is probably going to be my favorite part of high school, we’ve worked so hard these last three years and I’m so excited to see us get this far.”
New Albany used a strong service game to take the win in the first set, especially Greta Blakemore as she reeled off four aces during her serve which resulted in a 10-0 run for the Lady Bulldogs that broke open a one-point set into a 16-5 advantage.
“You’ve got to stay disciplined and play your game because I’ve seen teams like that take good teams and take them to 23-25 because they will get you out of your rhythm,” New Albany coach Ashley Connolly said.
New Albany breezed through the next two sets by scores of 25-8 and 25-6 to secure the match and advance. Janae Shackleford was a force on offense for the Lady Bulldogs as she had a career night in kills.
“Janae Shackleford, oh my gosh, she took control offensive-wise and she just went on with it,” Connolly said. “Our seniors (Rosalee Roberts, Moore and Shackleford), I couldn’t ask for a better group. They come out there every single set, match and have led this team to where we are right now and I’m just excited that I get to go home per se to Mississippi State, back to old Newell.”
Shackleford led the Lady Bulldogs with 14 kills and put a punctuation on her outstanding night with a block to end the match. Blakemore was also in double figures in kills with 12.
Masey Adams led New Albany in two categories with 36 assists and five service aces. Blakemore added four aces on the night.