By Doug Gorman
Numbers don't lie.
Just ask the Jonesboro High School volleyball team.
Wednesday afternoon in the finals of the Region 5-AAAA volleyball tournament, the Lady Cardinals swept county rival Mt. Zion (25-10, 25-13 and 25-7).
With the victory, Jonesboro heads to next week's state tournament with a 31-0 record. It's the second year in a row the Lady Cardinals have advanced to state without losing a regular-season or region tournament match.
"I am really proud of our performance today," said Jonesboro head coach Dan Maehlman. "We haven't played up to our capabilities lately, but today we really came through."
Both Jonesboro and Mt. Zion move on to the Class AAAA state tournament next week.
Jonesboro was in command during all three games en route to landing the No.-1 seed out of the region.
It's Jonesboro's third straight trip to the state tournament. Mt. Zion, which earned the No.-2 seed out of the region, is headed to the state tournament for the first time in school history.
"We did a great job of communicating and coaching each other out there on the floor," said the Lady Cardinals' Amanda Traber. "That's what we are going to have to do once we get to state."
In game one of the match, Jonesboro took control of the game with a 10-0 run behind the serving of Kristina Larsen.
Mt. Zion's MiKayla Jordan and LaKristie Bussey helped the Lady Bulldogs to two straight points and a 10-2 deficit.
Jonesboro built the lead back up to 19-5. Jonesboro outscored Mt. Zion 6-5 over the last 11 points.
Mt. Zion attempted to keep the second game of the match close, leading 2-0, but Jonesboro stormed back.
With the game tied at 2-all, Ernin Durham's serving pushed the Lady Cardinals out to a 4-2 margin and they never trailed again.
Later in the game, the Lady Cardinals led 17-7 and their lead stayed at double digits the rest of the way.
Mt. Zion took a 1-0 lead in game No. 3, but the contest wasn't really close, as Jonesboro scored eight straight points to take control of the match.
Durham again helped Jonesboro put away the Lady Bulldogs with solid serving.
Her ace gave the Lady Cardinals a 10-2 lead and she helped the squad roll off nine straight points for a 19-2 lead.
Jonesboro finished off the match by outscoring Mt. Zion 6-5.