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Lady Indians fight off Big 6 rival Lady Falcons

JIMMY MOORE, TriCitiesSports.com • Sep 12, 2017 at 11:54 PM

KINGSPORT — Dobyns-Bennett kept its hopes alive for a repeat Big 6 Conference volleyball championship Tuesday night, but it did not come easy.

Volunteer took the Lady Indians (19-5, 5-1) to four sets before D-B pulled out a 25-20, 18-25, 25-15, 25-21 win.

“We had a number of people step up tonight,” D-B coach Megan Devine said. “Caroline Cable (12 kills) had a great night and we’re proud of her. Staley Humphries (26 digs, five aces) came out and did everything I asked her to do whether on the front row or the back row. Chloe Harless (23 digs) kept us in the match on the back row. Jessi McReynolds (15 assists) and Rylee Waye (26 assists) did an awesome job feeding our hitters while running our offense.”

The teams played to an 18-18 draw in the first set before the play of Abby Byington, Hannah Watson and Cable at the net helped secure the victory. Watson’s kill got the Lady Indians side out, and Waye served the winner with an ace.

Volunteer (13-5, 3-3) turned the tables in Game 2, taking advantage of D-B’s unforced errors down the stretch to even the match.

Byington, who ended the night with 11 kills and a pair of aces, was key in extending an 11-10 third-set advantage to 18-12, and Humphries reeled off four consecutive points to put the Lady Indians up 2-1.

In the fourth set, Alyssa Hatley and Emma Bice’s play at the net made a game of it for the Lady Falcons, but kills by Byington, Humphries and Chelsie Crussell sealed the match for D-B.

Watson closed with 11 kills and seven blocks and Carly Shell chipped in with 10 digs and four aces for D-B.

Volunteer coach Josh Wenger, whose team was coming off a tournament championship over the weekend at Unicoi County, pointed to the match’s back-and-forth nature, especially in the third set.

“They went up 9-1 and suddenly it was 11-10, so we showed a lot of fight,” Wenger said. “I was proud of that fight, but ultimately we have to believe that we can win and that is the hump we are trying to get over.

“We’re super proud of our team and how far we have come, but we are still hungry and want to be able to finish games like this. We can compete in them, but we want to be able to bring home these big games we play.”

Hatley totaled 17 kills, including two block kills, with 11 digs and two aces for Volunteer. Bice collected two kills along with six block kills, and Aubrey Cobb added 13 digs. Setters Sydney Allen (19) and Sydney Dobbs (15) combined for 34 assists.

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