On Tuesday night, Boone came out with a ton of energy and won its second-round match over the Lady Hilltoppers in the District 1-AAA tournament, prevailing 3-1 (30-28, 25-13, 21-25, 25-15) at Volunteer High School.
The Lady ’Blazers advance to play Dobyns-Bennett, which blanked Volunteer 3-0, in the winners’ bracket final on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. Science Hill will play an elimination game against Volunteer at 7 p.m.
Both teams came out of the locker room fired up, but after trailing 23-20, Boone stayed in it and rallied to win a wild opening set.
“We came out with a lot of energy and that last two weeks with two losses motivated us even more,” Boone head coach Chelsea Baker said. “We have to come in every single day and give 100% effort. It’s win or go home time, now.”
One big area that was an improvement for Boone from the last meeting with Science Hill was right side hitter and senior Mackenzie Sweigart. She did not have a good outing last time and she’s been a key to the Boone offense all year.
“She is a huge difference-maker,” Baker said. “Where she’s on that opposite side of the court, you can switch things up. When she’s on, it makes our entire offense run so much smoother.”
Sweigart had nine kills and 11 digs to finish off the night. The offense was pretty balanced for Boone as Jaycie Jenkins had 13 kills and 10 digs. McKenna Dietz had 37 assists, 17 digs, five blocks and three digs. Greyson Stevens concluded with nine kills and four blocks while Dannah Persinger had three kills and four blocks.
Riley Brinn also contributed eight kills and five kills. Laken Jones had nine digs helping out the defense.
The Lady ’Toppers showed a little bit of fight in the third set after being down as much as five points on three separate occasions.
The offense was balanced as well for Science Hill, but the unforced errors — which have plagued them all year — showed their ugly heads again.
Claire Thomas had 14 kills while Ella Gay, Riley Layton and Kenzie Clark all had eight apiece. Loren Grindstaff had seven kills.
Jesse Franks had 26 assists while Alyssa Neal had 20 and 12 digs. Franks also had five aces.
Clark and Layton each finished with 11 digs.
“We play really good in spurts, but we have to play a complete game this time of year,” Science Hill head coach Laura Cook said. “They decided (in the third set) that they wanted to play aggressive. We have to do that every time out. … We’re going to have nights like that, but when we can limit our unforced errors, we’re good. … Volunteer is scrappy and they’ll come ready. We have to play together as a team to stay alive.”
Dobyns-Bennett 3, Volunteer 0
The home-standing Lady Falcons were coming off of a slight upset of Tennessee High on Monday night, but they had to deal with a much larger task in the next round against the top-seeded Indians.
Dobyns-Bennett rolled to a sweep 25-14, 25-15 and 25-20, but it was not without a fight from a scrappy Volunteer side.
The Lady Falcons had several instances where they played the Tribe point for point, but were ultimately overmatched.
The size of D-B flexed late as senior middle blocker Hannah Watson took over and went on a personal 6-0 scoring run in the third set to silence the Lady Falcons chances.
“(Hannah) is called ‘the beast’ for a reason,” D-B head coach Haley Price said. “She’s been our ‘get-it-done’ kid all year and it’s so nice to have her back out on the floor. When she was out, we had some tough losses. … I love the fight of an underdog. Seeing (Volunteer) step up yesterday and take that win was awesome. You hope — as a coach — that you see teams like that that are scrappy and keep the long rallies alive.”
Watson finished with 10 kills while senior outside hitter Staley Humphries had six kills and 20 digs. Meg Maynor had five aces.
The Tribe got a little bit of offense from senior setter Rylee Waye, who has been known to pull the trigger for an unexpected kill every now and again. It was a bit more evident on Tuesday that she wanted to get involved. She finished with three kills, 19 assists and 18 digs.
Zoie Larkins quarterbacked the defense, finishing with 20 digs and also producing four aces. Carley Shell chipped in 10 digs as well.
“She’s used to being on the court all the time in the 5-1 and watching her run the 6-2 and step up to play both sides was good,” Price said. “She was hitting out of the middle a few times and she hasn’t done that since she was in seventh grade.”
“Our players look across the net and all they see is a name on the jersey and we have to get out of that mentality,” Volunteer head coach Tennille Green said. “We would come within three or four points and then we’d make a mistake and be back again five or six points. You can’t do that against anybody in our conference. … Our passing was not good tonight. If our setters come out and mix their sets up, we’re pretty hard to deal with.”
Jersey Wines had five kills and 10 digs for Volunteer while Rylee Wines had five kills, seven assists and eight digs.
Josie Stapleton had 14 digs and Sydney Dobbs had six assists and five digs. Raenah Barton finished with four kills.