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D-B outlasts rival South in marathon Big 8 clash

Bill Lane • Sep 7, 2011 at 4:14 AM

KINGSPORT — It is traditionally a fight for local volleyball supremacy. Only both teams realize this year they’ll have to keep an eye on Sullivan Central. Dobyns-Bennett (15-4, 4-1) and Sullivan South (9-5, 4-1), playing before a noisy gathering in the Buck Van Huss Dome, went to the wire Tuesday night in another nail-biting Big 8 Conference match. D-B, scoring the last seven points of the night after being on the brink of defeat, upset the Lady Rebels 25-22, 21-25, 25-21, 9-25, 15-13. Kerri Jones, a sophomore who was all over the floor, led the Lady Indians’ charge with 31 assists. Ashton Beckner, a fixture in the middle, got 18 kills. Lexi Hartsock, a sophomore transfer from Please see LADY, PA G E 2D South, had 24 service points and 21 digs. “When we were behind 13-8 in the fifth game, I told the girls to be aggressive and push on them,’’ D-B coach Wendy Baker said. “Our goal was to play all the way through.’’ It was a night of momentum swings. South took the fourth game with an unstoppable flurry, scoring 10 consecutive points down the stretch to win by 16. Hartsock did some exceptional setting. “Lexi is an unbelievable passer,’’ Baker said. “She’s young, very coachable and mentally tough.’’ Baker felt Beckner’s presence at the net may have had the biggest impact. Also contributing big were Cortney Depew with 10 kills and Cydnee Morrisette with nine kills. The atmosphere was electric. Hundreds turned out to watch. D-B brought in its pep band to arouse the crowd. South certainly had its moments. Rylee Milhorn registered 20 kills. Tristen Pennington had 12 kills and 15 digs. Heather Harvey was credited with 24 assists and nine kills. Carlie Phillips charted five blocks and five kills. After starting slowly, South’s performance reached a crescendo in the fourth game and the momentum carried over for a 5-1 lead in the fifth. With the Lady Rebels up 13-8, victory seemed imminent. But D-B surged and a kill by Morrisette finally tied the score. South then self-destructed. “I’m disappointed in our effort,’’ Lady Rebels coach Wendy Ratliff said. “We gave up a lot of points on unforced errors. When two people can’t figure out whose ball it is, something’s wrong.’’ The coach gave Milhorn high marks. “She’s an incredible player, hard to defend,’’ Ratliff said. “We want to go to her as much as we can.’’ The Big 8 race could have a photo finish, with D-B ambushing South, Central starting strong and Tennessee High posing a threat. avid Grace — dgrace@timesnews.net

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