Sale Creek's long string of high school volleyball victories against District 6-A competition started in 2009 after a regular-season loss to Lookout Valley. And it came to an end at the hands of Lookout Valley on Thursday.
The Lady Yellow Jackets traveled to Sale Creek and defeated the Lady Panthers 3-0. Set scores were 25-21, 25-16, 26-24.
"They were pumped up," Lookout Valley coach Pat Conard said of her players. "I thought they controlled their adrenaline really well. I was worried coming over here that they might come up too fired up."
The Lady Jackets took the lead for good in the first set at 13-12, but they never led by more than five. Similarly, they didn't take the lead for good in the second set until 14-13.
The Lady Panthers took an 11-4 lead in the third set and were up 18-11 before Lookout Valley (8-1, 3-0) behind server Elexis Foster rallied and took a one-point lead. Sale Creek (5-4, 1-1) had set point at 24-23, but the Lady Jackets tied it and got the serve back, and consecutive aces by Savannah Walker ended it.
"I felt like we did a good job battling up front with them," Sale Creek coach Debbie Hill said. "We just kind of let up defensively in a few critical spots. Serve-receive was a little weak for us today."
Walker paced the Lady Jackets with 18 kills, two blocks, 18 digs and four aces. Annie Marr led with 29 assists and contributed three kills, 10 digs and two aces.
"They keyed a lot on Savannah and Annie. The other four, they contributed big time," Conard said of Foster, Brianna Evers, Taylor Hoge and Katelyn Mitchell. "It's good to have the others come in there and keep everybody off balance."
Jordan Duncan topped Sale Creek with 10 kills. Gracie Janow had nine and two blocks and Lauren Smith added eight kills. Bailey Pugh had 15 assists and Duncan and Kaleigh Cooper totaled 12 digs apiece.
"It has been a good run," Hill said of the Lady Panthers' streak. "We had finally gotten some girls come through who really focused on volleyball. When you have three or four who put a lot of time in it, it really brings your program up, especially at a small school. And we've had some Sale Creek kids who are just going to play hard for their school."
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.