JOHNSON CITY — To say that Sullivan South’s volleyball program has grown accustomed to advancing to regional play would be an understatement.
To say the Lady Rebels take it for granted would be an incorrect statement.
Dobyns-Bennett kept South up past its bedtime Tuesday night in the District 1-AAA tournament in an impressive five-game upset bid. The Lady Rebels prevailed 25-19, 27-29, 22-25, 25-14, 15-12.
“I thought both teams played incredibly well under a whole bunch of pressure,” said South coach Wendy Ratliff, whose squad rolled to a 25-11, 25-11, 25-19 win over Sullivan Central earlier Tuesday.
The Lady Rebels (43-7) weren’t able to carry much, if any, of that momentum into the nightcap. They faced a long, idle wait while Dobyns-Bennett fought Science Hill for a 25-23, 13-25, 25-21, 17-25, 15-12 win in their winner’s bracket match.
“You have to give it to D-B. They played 10 games tonight and they were still going hard. So that was pretty awesome,” marveled Ratliff, who clinched a berth in the Region 1-AAA tournament with Tuesday’s win.
The Lady Indians (37-11) got 20 kills from monster middle Ashton Beckner in the nightcap. Taylor Henry pummeled out 13 kills, but her blocking in the late frames was the big deal. She only got three points’ worth, but she repeatedly denied South blaster Rylee Milhorn to prolong the Lady Indians’ prospects.
The Tribe got 24 digs from Lexi Hartsock and 18 digs apiece from Austin Payne and Sasha Morrisette. Tribe setter Kerri Jones lofted 45 assists.
Even with the block party, Milhorn rocked out 23 kills for the Lady Rebels, also collecting 19 digs. Tristen Pennington led the South hitters, hammering out 26 kills while going to the floor for 24 digs. Carlie Phillips banged out 15 kills, Hannah Grese rooted out 20 digs and Hannah Johnson mixed it up for 51 assists, tying Pennington on defense with 24 digs of her own.
For the complete story, pick up a copy of the Oct. 10 edition of the Times-News.