East Hamilton caught lightning in a bottle to open the TSSAA state volleyball tournament Tuesday in Murfreesboro.
After losing the first two sets to Anderson County by a combined 16 points and down 14-7 in the third set, the Lady Hurricanes found themselves.
"Our girls had a defeated look on their faces," Lady Hurricanes coach Kelsey Kelley said. "We had to find that one big play to give us some momentum we could roll with. Then we had a big block and all of a sudden our girls were pumped, loud, putting the ball down and going after everything. From there they never let up."
East Hamilton completed the dramatic comeback by winning the final three sets 25-20, 25-18, 16-14. Sophomore Madison Allen led the way with eight of her team's 23 blocks.
Avenging a two-set sweep by the Lady Mavericks back in August, senior Jordyn Griffith also stepped up with her serve and shot placement, while the hard-hitting sister duo of Madison and McKenna Hayes combined for 31 kills and 10 blocks.
The Lady Hurricanes then held a 16-14 first-set lead over Portland, but the two-time defending state champion locked down defensively to win 25-19, 25-12, 25-15.
East Hamilton (32-11) needs three wins today to reach Thursday's 2:30 EDT championship match at Middle Tennessee State University's Murphy Center. Allen has 16 kills and 15 blocks in two matches.
Meanwhile, Baylor (30-9) shook off a hard-fought opening sweep decided by a mere seven points against a Briarcrest Christian program it has faced in the last three Division II-AA state finals. The Lady Red Raiders beat Harpeth Hall in four sets in the elimination round as they took the momentum with a back-and-forth 31-29 first-set triumph.
Led by junior standout hitter Elaine Redman and a host of powerful blockers, Baylor will take on the loser between Briarcrest and Knoxville Catholic today at 3:30 with the winner advancing to Thursday's 11:30 a.m. final.
Making its fourth straight trip to the state tournament, Sale Creek (26-16) was swept by Summertown and Halls a season after finishing runner-up in Class A.
Cleveland (38-12) lost in four sets to Collierville in the first round but then edged Daniel Boone 3-2 (25-17, 22-25, 24-26, 25-12, 15-10) in an elimination match late Tuesday night. The Lady Raiders play Houston at 12:30 p.m. EDT Wednesday.
Contact Patrick MacCoon at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.