The host Lady Bears knocked down 54 kills Tuesday on the way to a 3-1 win over Gate City in the semifinals of the Mountain 7 District volleyball tournament.
Union (20-4) advanced to Thursday’s championship match against Abingdon (21-8) at about 7:30 p.m. The Lady Falcons beat John Battle 3-1 in their semifinal match.
Gate City (18-10) and the Lady Trojans (11-14) square off in Thursday’s consolation match at about 6 p.m., following the conclusion of the junior varsity championship.
SOLID PLAY, MINUS ONE
Union played three strong sets against Gate City despite a lapse in the third.
After using solid front-line play to open the match with back-to-back 25-16 set wins, the Lady Bears struggled and dropped the third 25-23.
Union had 18 unforced errors in that third set, which was far from pleasing to coach Kim Moore.
“We’ve got to learn how to close out sets. That’s been a consistent theme. And then we have to be in the right mind-set when we get up in the match to finish out the third set,” Moore said. “We fought back and I’m glad we fought back. But, like I said before, there’s still room for improvement and it’s just one day at a time.
“They just relaxed a little bit and we’ve got to push.”
Union rebounded from the loss with a match-clinching 25-14 win.
THE BIG GUNS
The Lady Bears got 26 kills, 13 digs and four aces from Emili Brooks, and Meghan Blagg added 13 kills.
Union also got 46 assists and 13 digs from Zoe Brooks, 18 digs from Audrey Gilliam and 12 digs from Pia Morgan.
Gate City got seven kills, three blocks and 10 digs from Sarah Thompson, 26 assists from Lexie Summers and six aces from Ava Seagle.
“Right off the bat we struggled with serve-receive. They had offense and we couldn’t get the ball to the setter to run an offense,” said Gate City coach Amy Reed. “But we fought and we didn’t lay down. I’m sure at times they wanted to. They fought back and they could have given up a lot earlier.
“We’re young,” Reed added. “We’ll get a lot better.”