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Lady Bears top Lady Devils, clinch state berth

Tanner Cook • Nov 2, 2018 at 1:14 AM

BIG STONE GAP — Trying to beat a team more than once in any sport is hard, but on Thursday night Union vanquished Gate City in volleyball for the fourth time this season — and earned itself a state tournament berth in the process.

The Lady Bears topped the Lady Blue Devils in four sets, 25-11, 25-21, 21-25, 25-19, in the Region 2D tournament semifinals at Union. They advanced to play Lebanon on Saturday night in the regional championship match.

“It’s really hard to play a team four times and win four times,” Union coach Kim Moore said. “We knew everything there was to know about each other. Gate City plays hard and they were fighting to stay alive. Our team tonight played a little bit scared to mess up and starting to feel pressure.”

Emili Brooks finished with 19 kills, 21 digs and four aces for the Lady Bears. Meghan Blagg had 14 kills and five digs, Zoe Brooks recorded 39 assists and Audrey Gilliam had 18 digs.

Though the loss ended Gate City’s season, the Lady Blue Devils had no seniors on their roster, so the future looks bright. Lexie Summers had 18 kills, 25 assists, three aces and eight digs, Sarah Thompson had 16 kills, 18 digs and four aces, and Bel Sallee and Aubrie Penley each totaled 19 digs for Gate City.

“We didn’t execute the game plan to start out,” Lady Blue Devils coach Amy Reed said. “I know how to beat them and they’re beatable, but you have to come ready to play right off the bat. We didn’t do that and we didn’t finish. We had our moments throughout the match.

“They’re so much better than what they give themselves credit for a lot of the times,” Reed said of her players. “They just have to keep working and trust themselves.”

The Lady Bears came out on fire and looked as if they could do no wrong early. The Lady Blue Devils found a spark in the second and third sets, though they could only get the win in the third, but Union slammed the door fairly early in the fourth.

The Lady Bears raced to an 11-3 advantage in the final set, though the Lady Blue Devils made it interesting late. Gate City pulled within two points, 20-18, but Union countered with a 5-1 run to advance to the finals.

LEBANON MAKES HISTORY

The Lady Pioneers made history by advancing to the regional final and earning the first state volleyball berth in the history of the school.

Lebanon swept a young Virginia High team 25-22, 25-19, 25-16.

Cassidy Burke had 19 kills, Kara Long came through with 15 kills and three blocks, and Averie Price had a double-double with 10 kills and 17 digs for the Lady Pioneers.

Camden Jones had nine kills and 19 digs to lead the Lady Bearcats.

UP NEXT

The regional finals are Saturday at 7 p.m. at Union.

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