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Lady Patriots fall just short of volleyball state championship: Bob Jones finishes runner-up for second consecutive year

BIRMINGHAM- The Bob Jones volleyball team came oh-so-close…again. For the second consecutive season the Patriots fell to McGill-Toolen of Mobile in the finals of the Class 7A State Tournament losing to the defending state champs 3-1 in a gut-wrenching loss for the No. 11 nationally ranked Lady Patriots.

McGill-Toolen (46-8), which lost to the Patriots twice during the regular season, proved the old saying it’s difficult to beat a team three times in a season. The Yellow Jackets stung Bob Jones to capture their 23rd state title and earned back-to-back titles for the first time since 2017-2018. Bob Jones (54-3) won the first game of the match, but then fell to McGillen-Toolen in the next three games. The final scores were 22-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-19.

For Bob Jones, Kennedy Vaughn (Jr.) led the Patriots with 16 kills and 8 digs while Rachel Mecklenburg (Sr.) and Anabelle Arnold (Jr.) added 8 kills apiece. UAB commit Meg Jarrett (Sr.) completed her final high school match with 21 digs while Riley Lovell (Jr.) had 19 assists, 7 digs and 2 service aces.

Bob Jones second year head coach Jenny Jarrett said, “We were in the same spot last year and we were just happy to be here. This year, we felt like we had what it took. We were just a little off today. It’s a little hard to swallow. It was a tough one.”

Bob Jones waltzed through the most recent competition winning Area and Super Regional titles and did the same in the first two rounds of the State Tournament beating both Auburn (23-23) and Hoover (30-24) 3-0 as the Patriots advanced to the finals against the Yellow Jackets.

Against Auburn, Bob Jones posted game scores of 25-13, 25-10, 25-10.Kennedy Vaugh had 17 kills and 4 blocks, Rachel Mecklenburg had 11 kills, 22 assists, 2 digs and 2 blocks, Meg Jarrett posted 14 digs, 5 assists and 2 aces, Riley Lovell had 1 kill, 12 assists, 6 digs and 3 aces and Eliza Tyrrell had 7 kills, 2 aces, 5 digs and 3 blocks.

Versus Hoover (30-24) in the semi-finals, Bob Jones won by scores of 25-5, 25-14, 25-22 and were led by Vaughn with 12 kills, 2 digs and 3 blocks, Jarrett with 23 digs, 3 assists and 2 aces, Mecklenburg who had 9 kills, 12 assists, 8 digs and 1 block, Tyrrell who posted 9 kills and 3 blocks and Lovell who sported 21 assists, 6 digs and 1 ace.

“This loss was a tough one to take and I know our girls will look back and the see the incredible season they had,” said Jarrett of her squad. “Against McGill-Toolen, we played from behind most of the way but our girls continued to fight back. McGill was just better than us today. We fought hard the entire match. Our girls accomplished most of their goals this season. Our five seniors we will miss next season, but we have a good group of girls coming back next year.”

The Class 7A All-Tournament Team included Paris McQuirter (MVP), Emma Moore, Chelsea Daffi and Juliet Galla from McGill-Toolen and Rachel Mecklenburg and Kennedy Vaughn of Bob Jones.

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