MURFREESBORO, Tenn. -- Three of the five local high school volleyball teams that qualified for the state tournament had their seasons end in difficult fashion Thursday.
Red Bank, Soddy-Daisy and Sale Creek were each in position where winning its final match of the day meant it would be playing for a state championship today. Not only did it not happen for any of them, but each lost 3-2.
• Class AA: At Middle Tennessee State, Red Bank, which got dropped to the losers bracket by Goodpasture on Wednesday, got bounced from the tournament by the Lady Cougars on Thursday. Game scores were 22-25, 25-10, 25-17, 21-25, 15-9.
"We got drilled in the second set and after losing the third we could've just laid down, and we got down in the fourth set, but I'm proud of them for fighting back," Red Bank coach Christel Brooks said. "We played some of the best volleyball I'd seen. In a fifth set it can be inches, or where the ball falls, or hits the net. A point here, a point there could go either way."
Red Bank's day began with a 3-1 victory over District 6 rival East Hamilton. Game scores were 25-14, 33-35, 25-6, 25-22.
The Lady Lions then beat South Greene 3-0 by scores of 25-21, 25-20, 26-24.
Senior Danielle Moore is the only Red Bank player who's been part of four teams with third-place finishes or better, including a championship in 2009. On Thursday she totaled 40 kills and 43 digs. The only other senior, Chafelmer mumba, made 46 digs.
"This team worked hard all season," Brooks said. "They never doubted themselves. Some people said this was a rebuilding year for Red Bank volleyball. They never thought that. I've been pleased with their attitude, their effort and their desire. I can't say enough about how proud I am of this group of girls.
"Third in the state out of 180-something schools in our division is definitely something to be proud of. The bar is up there for Red Bank volleyball, and they've kept it up there."
Savannah Nelson paced the Lady Lions at the net with 47 kills and 13 blocks. Abby Graham had 121 assists on the day and Ansley Helton and Rachel Hargis combined to make 139 digs.
• Class AAA: At Blackman, the Lady Trojans ran into the team that put them in the losers bracket in their tournament opener and were unable to gain revenge despite getting out to a 2-0 lead. Game scores were 23-25, 16-25, 25-21, 25-22, 15-11.
"I knew when we didn't finish it in three, in the end it was going to catch up with us," Soddy-Daisy coach Lorri Johnson said. "We had already played two hard matches."
The Lady Trojans earlier beat Sullivan South 3-1, winning 10-25, 25-23, 25-23, 33-31. Their 3-1 victory over Siegel was 25-14, 22-25, 25-13, 25-21,
The third-place finish is the program's highest.
"We came up a little bit short," Johnson said. "On a fresher day, maybe we could've had that one. You've got to give them credit. They're a great defensive team. They dug things up and sent it back."
Kelsey Nunley had 54 kills on the day for Soddy-Daisy (53-11), and Rachel Shaughnessy had 53. Olivia Holden had 151 assists and Sarah Davis had 84 digs.
• Class A: At Siegel, after going 2-0 the first day, Sale Creek went 0-2 the second day.
The Lady Panthers first lost 3-0 loss to Friendship Christian in the winners-bracket final.
After dropping the first set 25-17, the Lady Panthers had game point at 24-22 in the second, but a dink and a block by Kaitlyn Teeter evened the game. Sale Creek's Krissy Hodge and Erin Hill teamed on a block to swing the advantage back and Hill had a chance to serve for the set, but hit the top of the net and the Lady Commanders ended up winning 27-25. The third set was 25-18.
"We definitely don't want to miss serves, but on the other hand you don't want them not to go for it," coach Debbie Hill said. "With the guns they have and the way they take aim at you, you've got to keep pressure on them with the serve.
"I felt like as a whole they were going to hit the ball at us. I don't think we controlled the ball at times when we had the chance to be on control."
Sale Creek (49-14) was eliminated by Summertown. Game scores were 25-22, 20-25, 25-15, 17-25, 15-11.
Hill totaled 48 kills for the Lady Panthers along with 24 digs, 24 assists and six blocks. Chelsi Roark led in digs with 27. Megan Storey was tops in assists with 34.
"Last year at our banquet the girls set a goal of getting to the state tournament," Coach Hill said. "They had it in their minds all along. We had good leadership and a lot of role players did a good job at what we asked them to do. They grew as a team. It was a great year, as far as volleyball goes."
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.