Baylor junior Nadia Sixto would not give up on the volleyball as she went to the edge of the crowd to save a point and pass back to teammate Elaine Redman, who delivered one of her match-high 23 kills for a four-point lead in the fifth set of Thursday night's home match against Notre Dame.
Redman, who has committed to Toledo, rose high again soon after for the match winner to close a thrilling season opener for the Lady Red Raiders. The set scores in Baylor's victory were 17-25, 25-12, 25-10, 21-25, 15-10.
"We came out sluggish tonight, and that wasn't our volleyball team," said Redman, who also had 21 assists and 21 digs. "They punched us in the mouth the first set, but we came back. We are not going to give up. It was a good to start the season off with that type of effort against another really good team."
Division II-A's Notre Dame showed its potential against a DII-AA state title hopeful that returned most of its standouts from last year, including Eli Kinney a versatile sophomore who can serve, pass and hit well.
In the fourth set, Lady Fighting Irish senior Beth Voges picked up one of her four blocks in the match and McKenna Brown showed pinpoint control on her big hits and serves to force a tiebreaker.
Brown had 20 kills for the second consecutive match to start the season.
"Notre Dame is exactly the team we wanted to face to begin the season," Baylor coach Sarah Lail said. "They have a great setter, and McKenna is one of the best hitters we will face. I was glad to see our girls step up and get the win against a great team."
Baylor's wealth of offensive options was on full display as Sierra Herndon and Tess Margio combined for 21 kills, while Kinney had eight kills and 16 digs. Emma Gray finished with 34 digs, and Holland Moss added timely blocks.
Margio had eight of her 10 kills in the second and third sets, when Baylor's confidence grew after losing the first set and trailing 5-1 early in the second.
Sale Creek 3, Arts & Sciences 1: Ava Higgins, Gabi Lacheney and Lillie Morgan combined for 37 kills in the Lady Panthers' victory. Higgins led all with 17 kills as well as eight aces.
Red Bank 3, Sequatchie County 1: Red Bank's Shante Smith starred in the victory with 14 kills and 14 digs.
Chattanooga Christian 3, East Hamilton 1: The Lady Chargers won their opener, with AJ Johnson leading the way with 15 kills, thanks in part to strong passing from Emily Day (36 assists).
Lookout Valley 3, Richard Hardy 1: Jadon Breneman had 15 kills in the victory.
* East Hamilton's Eli Winkler shot a 1-under-par 35 at Windstone Golf Club to help lead a 158-181 match victory over Soddy-Daisy, which was led by Zane Perry's 36.
* Collegedale Academy swept boys and girls matches against Hixson.
Sequatchie County 3, White County 1: Jamie Rollins scored twice to help seal the victory.
Silverdale Baptist Academy 10, CSAS 1: For the second straight game to start the season, Gracie Renegar landed a golden sombrero with four goals.
Heritage 5, LFO 3: Heritage (4-0) won the Catoosa County battle by taking advantage of two errors by Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe (5-2), which led to four unearned runs.
Rachel Gibson went four innings and allowed one earned run while striking out 10 batters and walking seven, with Brinley Horner earning the save with three strong innings. Zoe Wright had two hits and an RBI, with Bailey Davis adding an RBI triple for the winners, while Carlie Miller drove in two runs and Breonn Newbille and Haley Stahl added two hits each for LFO.
Coahulla Creek 10, North Murray 1: The Lady Colts (7-1, 2-1 Region 6-AAA) rapped out 12 hits, including two each from Tatum Poe and Steahl Smith, to back the two-hit, 12-strikeout pitching of Sophia Voyles.
Dade County 6, Trion 2: The Lady Wolverines improved to an impressive 6-1 as Harlie Crabtree and Kami Counts had two hits and scored two runs each, and Michaela Massey and Alyssa Wilson drove in a run apiece.
Murray County 4, LaFayette 3: The Lady Indians won their first game of the season as Nicole Martin went 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored to back the complete-game, no-earned run pitching of Natalie O'Neal.