The Lady Hilltoppers had already secured third place for next week’s District 1-AAA tournament at Volunteer, but the Lady Trailblazers (24-5, 8-2) were playing for a share of the conference title for the first time since 1995 and the school’s first in Class AAA.
Now, the road to get to the region is a little bit tougher as Boone will be the second seed and Dobyns-Bennett will be the top seed after its win over Tennessee High.
“We started so slow in the first game, but they just kept it together and played really well the rest of the way,” Science Hill head coach Laura Cook said. “You couldn't tell that we had lost the first game as bad as we did and we showed some fight towards the end. ... We kept points alive all night. That’s tough to do, especially against Boone because they're athletic and they keep it alive, too. We really wanted to be aggressive.”
The Lady ’Toppers (25-9, 7-3) had a typical slow start, but over the entire course of the match, the block was the biggest difference. Science Hill recorded nine blocks with Ella Gay having four of them and Loren Grindstaff recording three.
The offense was also balanced for Science Hill as Claire Thomas had 13 kills, Sara Whynot 10, Grindstaff nine, Gay seven, Riley Layton six and Jesse Franks four.
Franks also had 26 assists while Alyssa Neal tallied 21.
Defense was outstanding for Science Hill, getting to just about every ball and keeping the point alive. Lexi Kalogeros had 13 digs while Whynot recorded 11, Layton 10, Kenzie Clark eight and Franks seven.
“We came out with a lot of nervous energy and we were moving fast and playing aggressive in the first set,” Boone head coach Chelsea Baker said. “After that, I don't know if we got comfortable or what. We could not get anything going. Our block was off, defense couldn't pick up, we couldn't get a hit the whole game.
“Their block played so well. Even when they didn’t block us, their defense was everywhere. We would think we were going to get a point and then they'd come up out of nowhere and get it back over the net. Great job by them on the hustle. ... We just let our guard down.”
The offensive numbers were not up to usual standards for Boone as Riley Brinn and Jaycie Jenkins were the kill leaders with nine while Mackenzie Sweigart had seven along with Dannah Persinger and Greyson Stevens each notching six.
McKenna Dietz still had a double-double, producing 33 assists and 16 digs. Jenkins chipped in 11 digs while Laken Jones had 14.
Boone had 21 hitting errors and 10 service errors.
Science Hill will be back in action on Wednesday with senior night against Elizabethton beginning at 6 p.m.