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Lady Falcons glide to Senior Night sweep of Cougars

JIMMY MOORE, TriCitiesSports.com • Sep 19, 2017 at 12:42 AM

CHURCH HILL — Volunteer’s four seniors celebrated Senior Night in style Monday night inside the Falcons Nest.

The Lady Falcons turned back non-conference foe Sullivan Central in straight sets, 25-20, 25-14, 25-18.

View the photo gallery from the match

Volunteer coach Josh Wenger said getting a victory was huge for his seniors — Alyssa Hatley, Abby Hensley, Jordan Christian and Keylee Botkin — and he made sure they saw extended playing time.

“We had beat Central in four sets the last time we played and all the games were close, so we were definitely not going to underestimate them,” Wenger said. “They play so hard and my girls were talking about how scrappy they are. They have a lot of tenacity and don’t give up.”

This time around, the Lady Cougars (4-11) forced the issue in a first set knotted on nine occasions, the last time at 14. But Botkin’s kill got side out for the Lady Falcons (17-8) and junior Sydney Allen served five consecutive points — including one of her three aces — and Hatley’s kill and two unforced Lady Cougars errors sealed the first set for Volunteer.

The teams battled on even terms in the second. It was tied at 13 when Botkin, who had four aces in the match, stepped to the service line and reeled off 10 straight points — thanks in large part to Hatley’s play at the net — to put Volunteer up 2-0.

Central coach Logan Kemp’s team continues to go through growing pains. The Lady Cougars were coming off a tough weekend in the Mountain Empire Classic.

“After the weekend, you turn around and then have to play a strong team on Monday,” Kemp noted. “It’s a non-conference game, but any time you step on the floor you want to be able to put yourself into position to win.

“Early on in that first set, it looked like we were good to go and then the second and third sets we were struggling. You only have so much energy.”

In the third, Volunteer led 12-8 when Wenger called a timeout. The Lady Falcons responded with four straight points to extend the advantage to 16-8 before the Lady Cougars called a timeout then embarked on a 5-0 run — keyed by the serve of Avery Leming.

Hatley then stepped up to seal the match with her 21st kill. She also finished with 13 digs.

“In that third set we were on a roll and they called a timeout,” Wenger noted. “They got four or five points back, and that is just a testament to their no-quit attitude.”

Allen totaled 18 assists and sophomore Hope Bachman, subbing for Sydney Dobbs, had 10 for the Lady Falcons. Gracie Smith added four kills and six digs.

Hensley called the Senior Night victory a team effort.

“I like playing on the front row with Alyssa and we are comfortable with each other,” Hensley noted. “So far we have done really good this year.”

Central setter Laikan Hoback had 20 assists and five digs. Libero Maci Cloninger tallied 28 digs and Camile Lucas collected five kills.

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