Ooltewah continued its season-long unbeaten streak against its league opponents Tuesday and won the Region 3-AAA championship in the process.
The Lady Owls defeated District 6 rival Soddy-Daisy 3-1 in the title match at Ooltewah. Set scores were 25-13, 25-20, 21-25, 25-18.
Ooltewah (43-10) will host Columbia Central in a state sectional Thursday at 7 p.m. Soddy-Daisy (42-18) will play at Region 4 champion Siegel. Sectional winners will advance to next week’s state tournament.
“We’re just glad to be playing at home,” Ooltewah coach Elaine Peigen said. “It’s always nice to be the host.”
The Lady Owls couldn’t have looked much sharper in disposing of Stone Memorial in their semifinal on Monday.
They were down 9-8 to the Lady Trojans at the start Tuesday, but behind Josie Cain’s serve had a run of nine consecutive points and ended up cruising to the first-set victory. They looked in particularly good shape after winning a close second set, which has tournament most valuable player Courtlyn Ison thinking they could be peaking at the right time.
“There’s a little now we can improve on, maybe a little bit with passing,” Ison said. “We kind of had some hitting errors, but those can be easily fixed.”
In the third set Soddy-Daisy took advantage of an Ooltewah lapse — something Ison said her team can’t afford to have moving forward.
“Especially a game like this Thursday,” Ison said. “We’ve got to put teams away when we have the chance.”
Soddy-Daisy coach Lorri Johnson said her team didn’t make as many unforced errors in the third set as the Lady Owls did. Ooltewah coach Elaine Peigen pinpointed the problem from her side.
“In our serve-receptions we had some breakdowns,” Peigen said. “Then we started hitting scared, and when you start hitting scared, you’re going to get beat.”
Johnson said her team seemed to lose its energy level in the fourth set, and some offensive breakdowns occurred.
“They got some power going and made some shots we weren’t able to block,” Johnson said.
“We fight hard, we play hard. We’re a team on and off the court. We’ve just got to take that fight to Murfreesboro.”
Ison, a junior, led the Lady Owls with 15 kills and a career-high 8.5 blocks, which was 2.5 more than Soddy-Daisy had as a team. Cain and Sloan Sullivan each had 16 digs, Hanna Matthews had 35 assists and Summer Williams served four aces.
Haley Reynolds and Lauren Smith each had eight kills for Soddy-Daisy. Smith, who had three aces, had a run of 11 consecutive service points during the third set. Hannah Robertson led in digs with 27 and Chloe Mitchell totaled 31 assists.
Contact Kelley Smiddie at email@example.com or 423-757-6653. Follow him at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.
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.