East Hamilton coach Kristy Lenoir altered the Lady Hurricanes' pregame schedule due to a late start time in their Class AA volleyball sectional against Notre Dame.
She ordered Rosselli's pizza for the team.
Powered by pizza and what senior Morgan Phillips described as a few prayers, the Lady Hurricanes dispatched the Irish 3-0 and advanced to the state tournament for a second straight year.
"Our team has dropped to rock bottom and come back this season," said Phillips, who served seven aces. "Today we were here a couple of hours early, we played a lot of music, ordered pizza and prayed a few times."
They'll be dining next week in Murfreesboro. East Hamilton (33-18) won by scores of 25-14, 25-11 and 25-17 in the third set, during which both coaches made sure everybody on the team played in the match.
"I think we're still riding high from Tuesday's win and this is a repeat of last year, so we were more relaxed," Lenoir said. "I'm thankful that we were able to get here and move on to state, because we've had big struggles this year."
East Hamilton had few struggles Thursday.
Notre Dame, which Irish coach Tyler Baldanado declared the underdog before the match, fell behind 7-0 in the first set. The Irish led for one point all night at 6-5 in the second set. Then the Lady Hurricanes reeled off eight straight points.
Notre Dame (13-19) challenged more in the third set by getting as close as 17-13. A few minutes later, the Irish trailed by a touchdown and substitutions flew faster than the referee could keep track.
"We give away points and have to fight tooth and nail to get them back," Baldanado said. "We knew we were the underdogs, but we also knew we could come in and upset them."
A few slices of Rosselli's, and three hours later, the Lady Hurricanes knew they were on their way to state.
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 ...