Lady Trailblazers rally past Indians to earn first district title since 1995

Tanner Cook • Oct 10, 2019 at 11:43 PM

CHURCH HILL — Momentum can turn in an instant and the majesty of volleyball was on full display on Thursday night at Volunteer High School in the District 1-AAA tournament.

The Daniel Boone Lady Trailblazers rallied from down two sets to win an incredible five-set match over Dobyns-Bennett, 3-2 (23-25, 19-25, 25-21, 25-19 and 15-11). It is the first district title of any kind for the Lady ’Blazers in volleyball since 1995.

McKenna Dietz — after going out in the fifth set due to a gash on her chin and spewing blood on the court — was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. She finished with four kills, 40 assists, 18 digs and four blocks.

Boone’s win is ironic in that the Lady Indians had to rally from down two sets in the previous elimination match against Science Hill to get to the championship.

The defense for Boone was impressive after the first two sets and the epitome of that was senior libero Laken Jones, who stepped up her game with 26 digs.

Jaycie Jenkins had 13 kills, two blocks and 35 digs while Mackenzie Sweigart totaled eight kills, five blocks and 20 digs. Greyson Stevens had nine kills and an impressive 10 blocks.

“It’s all in their heart,” Boone head coach Chelsea Baker said. “In the first two games, we were struggling defensively and offensively. Thankfully, we were able to turn it around and get it going. … (Jones) has really flipped a switch these last three games. She has picked up balls that she hadn’t before and she has done amazing.”

“I didn’t even know I was bleeding,” Dietz said. “I got up and my chin was hurting and then I saw the blood on my hand. … I’m so proud of my team and the way that we’ve worked all season.”

The Lady Indians looked like they were going to steamroll into the “if necessary” game after the second set, then Boone woke up.

The Lady ’Blazers rolled off 10 of the first 12 points and built a sizable lead to seize the momentum. D-B did fight back and cut the lead to as little as four points, but never got any closer.

“It was a long day. That was 10 sets and after the first five, we were fatigued,” Tribe head coach Haley Price said. “They showed excellent fight. They displayed the grit and determination of what it takes to play at the next level of this tournament. I could not have been more proud.”

With the win, Daniel Boone will host the Region 1-AAA tournament next week at Bobby Snyder Gymnasium. The dates and times for the matches are yet to be determined, but Boone will play Morristown West while Dobyns-Bennett will play District 2 champion Jefferson County.

Dobyns-Bennett 3, Science Hill 2

The opportunity was there for the Science Hill Lady Hilltoppers to continue their season, but they ultimately came up short and the season came to an end.

The Lady Indians rallied from down two sets to win 21-25, 17-25, 25-19, 25-18 and 15-9.

Science Hill was closing out blocks and the passing was crisp throughout the first two sets, but then Hannah Watson and Staley Humphries decided that they didn’t want the season to be over.

In the third set, the Tribe built a lead and got it to as much as three points before Science Hill stormed back to tie at 13. D-B seized the momentum back after a timeout and carried it forward, winning the third and fourth sets.

Science Hill needed a good start in the fifth set, but got down early 8-1 and the momentum never swung back the Lady ’Toppers’ way.

Sara Whynot led the offense with 12 kills while Riley Layton had nine and Claire Thomas and Loren Grindstaff each accumulated eight. Ella Gay chipped in seven.

Jesse Franks recorded 25 assists while Alyssa Neal had 16 helpers.

On defense, Whynot rounded out her double-double with 17 digs and Kenzie Clark closed it out with 16. Layton ended with 10.

“This one was tough to take,” Science Hill coach Laura Cook said. “The seniors on this team have worked so hard to get where they are now. I could not be more proud of this group for the way they played.”

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