Signal Mountain had the longest sustained run of consecutive points in Tuesday's high school volleyball match at Chattanooga Christian. But the rest of the District 7-AA showdown belonged to the Lady Chargers.
Chattanooga Christian took the first two sets and seemingly had control of the third before a big rally by the Lady Eagles. But the Lady Chargers shrugged off the loss and won the match 3-1. Set scores were 25-15, 25-20, 21-25, 25-14.
Each team entered the match 1-0 in district play. Preseason polling of the coaches had the two and Notre Dame battling it out for league supremacy.
"Beating a team like Signal in district is huge," CCS first-year coach Brian Wood said. "You always want to be on top when it comes down to district play."
The teams had met twice in tournaments earlier this year with the Lady Eagles winning both times.
"I really don't know why sometimes we come ready to play and sometimes we don't," Signal Mountain coach Jennifer Redman said. "I do know we're young. At times we have two or three freshmen out there and two sophomores also. But young is not an excuse. We've been playing 12 weeks."
It looked as though a sweep was imminent with the Lady Chargers leading 21-14 in the third set. But the Lady Eagles came out of the timeout they had called and, sparked by Kennady Collick's serving, ran off 11 consecutive points.
"I think we lost focus in the third set when they reeled off those points in a row," Wood said. "We had to refocus. That's something we've been working on all season."
CCS (10-8) did refocus in the fourth, taking the lead for good at 6-5 and growing the advantage from there.
"Personally, I think it was probably a lack of mental toughness on our end," Redman said of her team's woes Tuesday. "We had missed serves, we missed our spots hitting, not playing defense like we're supposed to. It was just all around not good."
Erin Jackson paced CCS with 16 kills and five aces, and her 19 assists were second to Taylor Youell's 26. Riley Visser chipped in with 12 kills and Hannah Stewart contributed three aces.
"We had all facets of our game working," Wood said. "Our passing was on and our setters did great, as far as setting away from the block."
Taelor Kellum led Signal Mountain (13-8) in kills with 14. Amanda Thielges had 25 assists and Aryn Sanders made 18 digs.
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.