Soddy-Daisy came into its high school volleyball match against Ooltewah sitting in first place in the District 5-AAA standings and the Lady Trojans did nothing Thursday but strengthen their hold.
They shook off a lethargic start in the third game and went on to sweep the Lady Owls 3-0 at Soddy-Daisy. The game scores were 25-20, 25-15, 25-16.
The Lady Trojans improved to 24-7 and more importantly 7-0 in the district. Ooltewah's only two losses in seven district matches have been to Soddy-Daisy.
"I'm not exactly sure how the other teams in the district are doing, as far as who beat who," Soddy-Daisy coach Lorri Johnson said. "I've just been focused on us. We're in the driver's seat, I'll put it that way, toward the district regular-season title. That makes a big difference in how things set up for the district tournament."
Ooltewah coach Elaine Peigen was able to find positives in her team in the first and third games, the latter the Lady Owls led 16-12. Then behind the serving of Sarah Davis and the net play of Rachel Shaughnessy, both recent Lee University commitments, the Lady Trojans scored 13 unanswered points to end it.
"Rachel rotated in and got three blocks in a row," Johnson said. "Then she made three or four more kills in there. We've got two big middles. Becca Johnson did an outstanding job as well."
Peigen said there are ways to counter a height disadvantage, but she pointed out her players' execution wasn't as good as their effort and heart.
"Soddy-Daisy's big and they're good," Peigen said. "We cannot make unforced errors against them like we did. We were not covering the chip like we were supposed to. Already, height-wise, they've got an advantage on us. You can't make mistakes like that and win."
Shaughnessy ended up leading with 15 kills and five blocks. Davis paced the Lady Trojans with 20 digs and both of them had two aces. Olivia Holden's 28 assists were a team-high.
Ooltewah (17-8) was led in kills by Leondra Bennett's 10. Izabela Zdunek topped the Lady Owls with 10 digs.
Loren Bennett led with 18 assists and chipped in with four kills and eight digs. Kianna Delaney contributed seven kills, three blocks and seven digs.
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.