Notre Dame volleyball coach Dan Clotfelter knew his team had a chance to be successful this season as long as COVID-19 didn't get in the way.
While the Lady Fighting Irish have avoided trouble related to the coronavirus, becoming one of the area's most dominant programs has meant overcoming other obstacles.
"From 30,000 feet it seems like everything has been smooth sailing, but it really has been sort of an injury-filled year," Clotfelter said after his team improved to 23-3 overall with Thursday night's home sweep of Grace Academy, 25-9, 25-14, 25-22.
"We have never played with the lineup we thought we would have this year. We have had multiple people out, a season-ending injury and someone who was injured before the season started. There has been a lot of different people find ways to contribute at different positions. It's been a lot of fun to see everyone step up."
Senior star McKenna Brown had 19 kills and eight digs against Grace as Notre Dame finished its Division II-A East District 2 schedule 8-0. Lindsay Burns had 15 digs and three aces and Mary Fillauer totaled 28 assists.
"Three weeks ago we lost our senior libero, Gwen Jimenez," Clotfelter said. "Instead of letting that be something to get us down, junior Riley McCormick has stepped into that role and really played well and made what could have been a devastating blow less. She and so many others have helped this team, which has one of the best players in our city in McKenna powering us."
Clotfelter pointed out the team's previous meeting with Grace went five sets and that the Irish "had to fight back from being down in seven match points. If we can play consistent and great volleyball for long stretches, we are going to be very tough to beat."
Hixson 3, Central 0: The Lady Wildcats served 20 aces, and Riley Bellamy had 11 kills in the District 6-AA sweep of Central, 25-23, 26-24, 25-19. Jordan Westfall added seven aces, and Anna Johnston had eight kills, 13 assists and three aces.
Cleveland 3, Bradley Central 0: Addison Hurst had 12 kills to lead Cleveland in a District 5-AAA sweep, 25-16, 25-23, 25-17. The Lady Blue Raiders also received five aces and 18 assists from Kinslee McGowan and four aces from Amanda Estrada. Bradley's Anna Muhonen and Kelsey Carman combined for 17 kills.
Sequatchie County 3, Cumberland County 0: Sarah Brown (nine kills), Megan Hall (12 digs) and Abby Smith (four aces) led Sequatchie County (11-2) to the road win, 25-22, 25-16, 25-20.
Ridgeland 2, Dade County 1: Ridgeland, after dropping the first set 29-27, came back to win with set scores of 25-22 and 15-11. Dade County was led by Delaynee Davis (13 digs, four aces), Bailey Davis (six kills, three blocks) and Logan Frint (six kills).