The Dobyns-Bennett volleyball team’s season ended Wednesday night with a five-set loss to Siegel in the TSSAA Class AAA tournament at Blackman High School.
The Lady Indians finished with a 40-5 record and third in the state tournament after the 20-25, 23-25, 25-20, 25-19, 15-3 loss in the losers' bracket final — their third match of the day.
“Siegel’s a great team, but when you’re up 2-0 on a team, you can’t back down,” Lady Indians coach Megan Devine said. “That’s the disappointing part about this game. I knew that we should be playing Thursday if we continued to do the things that were working.
“If you start in the negatives, it’s really hard to dig out of that hole. We talked it up about how we needed to start strong. We struggled in that part and in the fifth set, we just weren’t existent. ... Nothing is given and the underclassmen know that this feeling is terrible and you never want to feel it again.”
D-B opened the match slowly, falling behind 6-1 and 14-8 before grabbing the lead at 17-16 and taking the set.
The Tribe started the second set strong, but the back-and-forth game saw the Lady Stars gain an 8-7 edge before pushing their lead to 19-11. D-B showed its fight by battling back to a 22-22 tie and closing out the set with a 3-1 push.
The Lady Indians had all the momentum, and the third set was shaking out much like the first two. D-B gets down early, fights back and takes the late lead.
But Siegel had other ideas. This time the Lady Stars kept their late lead, though the Lady Indians got within two points three times. Siegel held on and the match was 2-1 Tribe.
The fourth set was tight until Siegel opened a gap at 10-8 and pushed its advantage to 15-9.
Again, the never quit Tribe fought back to within one point, 15-14, but then the match flipped.
Siegel ripped off nine straight points, building a 24-14 lead in the blink of an eye. Five times D-B fought off set point before the Lady Stars put it away.
There was no turning the tide for the Tribe, and the Lady Stars advanced to Thursday's championship match against five-time state champion Brentwood.
Hannah Watson finished with 18 kills for the Tribe, but senior Courtney Whitson was limited to eight. Staley Humphries had 11 kills and 31 digs, Rylee Waye came through with 47 assists and Chloe Harless chipped in with 28 digs.
“This season was phenomenal. I’m so proud of them in every aspect because they played together as a family all year," Devine said. "We’re going to miss this team, all 13 players together.
“We’re going to miss the seniors tremendously. Their attitude, the energy they bring to our team ... I’m going to miss them and so will these girls."
HOW THEY GOT THERE
The Lady Indians reached the losers' bracket clash first by beating Cookeville 3-1 then by sweeping Houston.
Against Cookeville, Whitson and Watson each had 14 kills and Humphries had 10 and 15 digs for a double-double in the 9-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-21 win. Harless led the Tribe on defense with 26 digs and three aces, and Waye had 41 assists.
D-B never let up on the gas against an obviously tired Houston team, winning 25-17, 25-14, 25-20.
Whitson again had 14 kills and Caroline Cable added 10. Humphries finished with 16 digs, Harless had 17 and Carly Shell added 10. Waye recorded 39 assists to go with two aces.