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South meets Elizabethton for District 1-AA crown

Tanner Cook • Updated Oct 3, 2018 at 7:53 AM

BLUFF CITY — The finals are set for the District 1-AA volleyball tournament as Sullivan South advanced with a hard-fought win over Sullivan East and Elizabethton came from behind to best Sullivan Central.

Both Tuesday matches went to four sets and provided quite the dramatic endings.

SOUTH TOPS EAST

The Lady Rebels earned yet another regional berth as they downed the Lady Patriots in four sets 25-20, 14-25, 25-15 and 25-19.

Abbey Jayne finished the night with 18 digs and 13 kills for South. Meredith St. Clair added 41 digs on the defensive side.

The Lady Rebels were shaky to open up the match, especially in the second set — when the East service line got rolling and blew by them.

“The seniors really stepped up and made some better shot selections in the fourth set,” South head coach Wendy Ratliff said. “We dug ourselves in a hole and we got out of it. We just found a way.”

The Lady Patriots fought hard and played one of their best games of the season, according to head coach Tracy Graybeal.

“I was really proud of the effort our girls put out there tonight,” Graybeal said. “All four sets were way closer in play than they were on the scoreboard. The second set was the best we played all year. They played with a lot of heart.”

ELIZABETHTON COMES BACK ON CENTRAL

The Lady Cyclones dug themselves in a big time hole, losing the first set to upset-minded Central — which lost both regular-season meetings to Elizabethton this year.

However, Elizabethton pulled it out in four sets 23-25, 27-25, 25-17 and 25-22.

The turning point for the entire match was late in the second set with Central leading 21-18 and Elizabethton stormed back to prevail 27-25.

“The come-from-behindwas the turning point,” Elizabethton head coach Leslee Bradley said. “We were as good as dead right there. We made a couple of good hustle plays there late and started playing with a bit more urgency.”

Junior Morgan Smith had an impressive night for ’Betsy, finishing with a triple-double of 16 kills, 15 assists and 10 digs. Sydney Goodsell also had a standout night with 15 kills and 39 digs.

“We knew coming in that it was going to be a tough matchup,” Central coach Logan Kemp said. “Their defense was really scrappy. They’re really good at doing all the little things correctly and combined with our hitting errors, that’s not good for us.”

Elaina Vaughn led Central with 16 kills and seven digs. Laiken Hoback had 34 assists and 10 digs. Alyssa Giles had 20 digs.

UP NEXT

The tournament final will be on Thursday between Sullivan South and Elizabethton, the top two seeds respectively. The winner will host a regional game while the loser travels. The match is set to begin at 7 p.m.

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