Sullivan North volleyball coach Vicki McGlothlin found just the message she needed to motivate her team prior to Tuesday night’s District 1-AA tournament.
“I’m not superstitious,’’ said McGlothlin, “but when I broke open my cookie and read my fortune I knew I had to share it with the team.’’
Her fortune read: “All your hard work is about to pay off.’’
Oh how it did.
The Lady Raiders upset top seed Sullivan East 25-19, 21-25, 27-25, 25-19 on Wednesday to capture the District 1-AA volleyball championship.
The Lady Patriots (18-17) had beaten North (18-11) twice during the Three Rivers Conference regular season. On this night the Lady Raiders were not to be denied.
“It was an awesome match,’’ McGlothlin said. “We had a point to prove.’’
Earlier in the evening, East had beaten Elizabethton 25-7, 25-14, 25-8 to advance to the final. No. 2 North ousted Unicoi County 25-16, 25-18, 25-11.
The Lady Raiders fell behind 8-2 in the opening game of the championship match, then scored six straight points to knot the score at 8.
East built a 15-10 lead only to see North eventually move ahead 19-18. The score was tied at 19 before the Lady Raiders grabbed the final six points to take the first game.
“It was big winning that first game,’’ said North senior Emily Dean, who was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. “It gave us confidence.’’
“We missed 10 serves tonight,’’ said Sullivan East head coach Julia Rafalowski. “That’s 10 points we just gave them. They’re already good, we just helped them be better.’’
North rushed out to an 11-5 lead in the fourth game, eventually pushing it to 20-12. East got no closer than four points the rest of the match.
“Being a senior, this is such a special way to finish,’’ said Dean who had 17 kills, seven blocks and 17 digs. “Everyone played so hard tonight.’’
Tiffany Gragg added seven key kills and three blocks for North.
“Tonight I felt like I had to step up for our team,’’ Gragg said. “Before the fourth game, we decided we’d refuse to lose. We didn’t want to go to a fifth game.’’
Olivia Breeding had 24 assists for North.
The Region 1-AA tournament will be held at North on Tuesday starting at 5 p.m.