Walker Valley’s best, combined with Cleveland’s worst, resulted in an impressive volleyball sweep for the Lady Mustangs Thursday evening on their home floor.
Walker Valley pushed its season record to 7-2 and 1-1 in district play with the dominating 25-21, 25-21, 25-20 victory over its crosstown rival.
The Lady Raiders fell to 6-2 overall with their first district loss in three matches. It was only their second, third and fourth losses in 19 games played.
“To sweep Cleveland in three games has to be our best performance of the season,” said a delighted Judy Pruett after the triumph by her Lady Mustangs. The big win comes on the heels of a below-par performance and loss to district foe Soddy-Daisy on Tuesday.
Cleveland coach Trish Flowers said it was easily the Lady Raiders’ worst performance of the young season. She criticized her team, saying it was probably its worst effort since the regional tournament a year ago in Cookeville when the Lady Raiders were eliminated from the state playoffs.
Both teams will have to redirect their focus quickly. Both are playing against some top-notch competition in Chattanooga’s Choo Choo Classic today.
Cleveland plays today at Red Bank, beginning at 4 p.m. against Signal Mountain, Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett and White County. D-B is considered one of the best volleyball teams in the state.
Walker Valley will be in action at East Ridge, beginning at 3 p.m., against Bradley Central, Grace and Ooltewah.
Walker Valley’s volleyball dominance Thursday was not just in the varsity match, but across the board. The freshmen and junior varsity triumphed in tiebreakers. The freshmen won, 25-22, 18-25, 15-11; and the junior varsity took a 25-19, 19-25, 15-5 decision.
Walker Valley’s three seniors were superb in the varsity match. Kayla Sewell and Karis Terpstra had a number of kills, including a pair of big hits each when the Lady Mustangs ended Cleveland’s suffering in the third game.
Senior Madison Akins was a steady influence on the back line with some nifty receptions for the Lady Mustangs.
Senior Kristen Pickett had a good match for Cleveland, including an impressive run of kills midway of the third game. But, except for a few plays from juniors Jessica Davenport and Kayla Gash, Pickett received little help from her teammates.
It all boiled down to communication. Walker Valley had it ... Cleveland did not.
“It was easily our worst match of the season,” said Flowers after play was concluded. “It was a huge disappointment.”
“Walker Valley is a good team and I was very impressed with their play,” Flowers said in tribute to the Walker Valley performance.
“Still, it was a humbling experience for us,” the Lady Raiders’ coach continued. “We just couldn’t get any momentum at all. You have to play smart, and we didn’t do that tonight.”
Coach Pruett was as delighted as Flowers was disappointed. “We played smooth and we played together,” she said of her team’s effort. “It was a completely different team than the one that showed up against Soddy-Daisy on Tuesday.”
Pruett also had words of praise for her freshmen and junior varsity squads.
The Walker Valley coach said celebration of the win will be short-lived, as focus must now switch to the Choo Choo Classic this weekend. The Lady Mustangs will face another archrival in Bradley Central this afternoon.
The Lady Mustangs had contributions from throughout the varsity lineup, not just from the seniors. The home team was out front early in all three games, although Cleveland did make some runs. The Lady Raiders could not sustain the rallies and the Lady Mustangs moved on to victories ... their most impressive of the year.
In overall statistics for Walker Valley, Akins had 20 digs, six service points and an assist. Sewell had 13 kills, four service points and two blocks; and Terpstra added 12 kills and three service points.
Caitlin Geren added 25 assists, 11 service points, two kills and a block; Jessica Stepp had eight service points and three kills; Leslie Still had three kills; Katie Wilds had three kills and a block and Morgan Elrod added 12 digs.
Bristol Snider sparked the junior varsity with nine service points and six kills, and Alex Rominger led the freshmen with 15 service points.