The Lady Bears clinched home-court advantage in the district tournament Saturday with a 3-1 win over Abingdon at Ridgeview High School.
The teams tied for the district’s regular-season championship, which set up Saturday’s playoff. Union (19-4) earned the top seed for the Mountain 7 tournament and Abingdon (19-8) is the second seed.
POSTSEASON STARTS MONDAY
As the top seed, Union earned a first-round bye as well as the right to host the tournament’s final two days.
The district’s remaining six schools are in first-round action on Monday. Abingdon hosts seventh-seeded Ridgeview, sixth-seeded Lee High travels to third-seeded John Battle and Gate City, the fourth seed, hosts Wise Central.
NOT PEAKED YET
As usual, Union’s front line play dominated Saturday’s match.
Led by Emili Brooks’ 18 kills, two blocks, 10 digs and six service aces the Lady Bears made the 25-15, 28-30, 25-11, 25-21 win look fairly easy.
“I’m happy for these girls. They’ve really invested and worked really hard and put a lot of time in at the gym,” said Union coach Kim Moore.
Though pleased with the way her team is playing right now, Moore said the Lady Bears still have room for improvement.
“I still think there’s room for growth. One day at a time,” she said.
The play at the net by Meghan Blagg, who finished with 11 kills, and Jayda Smith, who finished with nine kills, complemented Brooks’ strong front-line efforts.
Despite an extended-play loss in the second set, Blagg said the Lady Bears wanted to keep playing and get the job done.
“We didn’t really let it bother us. We just shook it off and got ready for the next one,” she said.
Abingdon appeared to control the momentum after taking the second set, but then the Lady Falcons stumbled.
Union never trailed in the third and fourth sets to earn the win.
“We didn’t execute the way we needed too,” said Abingdon coach Rachel Harding. “If you give enough balls to the Brooks girl, she’s going to put them away. If she really never has an opportunity to hit, then we win.”
ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOK
In addition to solid front-line play, Union’s Zoe Brooks came up big with 36 assists and 11 digs. The performance gave her 2,409 assists for her career, putting her name in the record book as Union’s all-time leader in that category.
She broke the previous record of 2,376.
Union also got 20 digs from Audrey Gilliam and nine digs from Pia Morgan.
Abingdon’s Morgan Blevins finished with 13 kills, Abby Boyd had 13 assists, Cameron Wyatt had 20 digs and Cassie Farley finished with three blocks.