Last year when the high school volleyball teams at Boyd-Buchanan and Silverdale Baptist Academy squared off, they knew the results of their matches with each other were crucial toward determining the top seeding for the District 5-A tournament. Each set was critical. Heck, every point was precious.
Both teams were unbeaten in the district standings when they played for the first time this season Tuesday at Boyd-Buchanan. It looks like the same type of developments could be in store for 2012 after the Lady Buccaneers squeezed out a 3-2 victory.
Set scores were 22-25, 25-19, 21-25, 25-20, 15-12.
When asked how big the win was, Boyd-Buchanan coach Ashley Rose said the word "huge" multiple times.
"All we've talked about is big picture," Rose said. "We wanted to schedule 35 matches, but none of them matter except for these in the district. We never know what we're going to get from them, but we know it's going to be a good one."
Rose said the Lady Bucs have been fortunate this season to often win close matches.
"We are a team with five seniors," she said. "Having that little bit of leadership, that little bit of experience, helps."
They and Silverdale split last season in tying for the regular-season championship. The Lady Bucs were top-seeded in the district tournament determined by scoring a few more points, which wasn't the first tiebreaker. That proved to be big when third-seeded Arts & Sciences beat the second-seeded Lady Seahawks and prevented them from moving on to the Region 3 tournament.
"We're just working hard on our mental game," Silverdale coach Rhonda Hawkins said. "Mentally we've got to learn to stay in every point. This was what we expected. It's always that way with Boyd. We just came up a little bit short. We look forward to playing them next time."
Next time is next Tuesday at Silverdale, where this season's district tournament will be held in three weeks.
"We've got a long way to go, and so do they. There are several district matches left, and we especially have to keep our eyes on CSAS," Hawkins said of the team her Lady Seahawks needed five sets to defeat in their first meeting. "We're not getting too far ahead of ourselves. We need to worry about Grace Academy on Thursday."
Sydney Spencer led Boyd-Buchanan (17-8, 4-0) with 12 kills and Mandi Jones added 11. Maddy Howard topped the Lady Bucs with six aces and Katie Delay had 40 digs. Kristen Reynolds led with 27 assists.
The top hitter for Silverdale (17-9, 4-1) was Mackenzie Harris with 13 kills, and she contributed 15 digs along with Bryce Killingsworth. Kerri Whittaker paced the Lady Seahawks with 33 digs and Katelyn Couch was the assists leader with 20. Molly Kane led with three blocks.
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.