Erin Hill kept swinging for the floor Monday night.
And she swung hard, blasting 24 kills for Sale Creek in its 3-0 victory over Silverdale Baptist Academy in the Region 3-A volleyball semifinals at SBA.
The Lady Panthers (32-14) will play for the championship today at 5 p.m. against Boyd-Buchanan, which dispatched Lookout Valley 3-0. Today's match will determine which team travels and which hosts in the sectional round.
"We had to hit them," said Hill, who will play at Lee University next year. "We knew they had some weaknesses, and we kept hitting the corners."
Hill's kills accounted for almost one-third of the Panthers' scoring points Monday. She led her team to wins of 25-20, 25-15, 26-24.
"We played hard and with heart," SBA coach Rhonda Hawkins said. "Yeah, we're disappointed. We just came up short. They're a little more experienced than we are."
Boyd-Buchanan coach Ashley Rose felt comfortable enough to empty her bench in the third set of their match. The Lady Bucs won 25-18, 25-7, 25-17.
Mandi Jones had 12 kills and Katie Delay had 25 digs and three aces for the Lady Bucs (28-13). The Lady Yellow Jackets were led by Hayley McBee with 15 digs, three kills and two blocks.
Lookout Valley never led in any of its three games. Boyd-Buchanan took control and never let go.
"We're right where we want to be," Rose said. "We have in mind the road that we would like to state. A win tomorrow would certainly help."
Sale Creek and Boyd-Buchanan split their two previous matches this season. The Lady Panthers came from two games down to win the most recent matchup.
Sale Creek wasn't down often Monday. The Lady Panthers were tied or led for all but the first point of the third game, and when SBA rallied to tie that game at 24.
"We have tended to play from behind many times this season," said Sale Creek coach Debbie Hill, Erin's mother, who also praised setter Megan Storey. "We knew that if we had to play catch-up, it would be really hard today.
Bradley at Ooltewah
Ooltewah and Bradley will square off tonight for the Region 3-AAA title in a rematch of the District 5 tournament final, and they will play at Ooltewah at 7 after both won 3-0 Monday at Cookeville.
Kelsey Chernak had eight aces and 26 assists and Leondra Barrett made 13 kills for Ooltewah (33-18) in a 25-12, 25-2, 25-9 defeat of Coffee County. Bradley (29-13) won 25-19, 25-20, 26-24 over Cookeville.
Contact David Uchiyama at email@example.com or at 423-757-6484. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...