The Lady Trailblazers are well on their way to running the district table again following a 25-14, 24-26, 25-11, 25-19 win over Tennessee High on Thursday night at Bobby Snyder Gymnasium.
Greyson Stevens had 12 kills, Jaycie Jenkins 10, Mackenzie Sweigart 11 and Riley Brinn seven for Boone (15-3, 7-0). Brinn also recorded three aces, Jenkins added 18 digs to complete another double-double and McKenna Dietz packaged 37 assists with 16 digs, four kills and three blocks.
Boone reaped the rewards of the Lady Vikings’ size disadvantage. Stevens had five blocks, and Dannah Persinger and Jenkins each tallied four.
“Tennessee High played really well in the second game,” Lady ’Blazers coach Chelsea Baker said. “They did a great job of short-and-deeping us. They kept hitting the ball and tipping, and we didn’t do a good job of responding to that. They really outsmarted us that set.
“I’m really proud that my team was able to come out and get that third game. ... (Dannah Persinger) has a great serve and that really gave them some problems in that third set. It looks straight, but it kind of wiggles in the air. She had only one ace, but it felt like a lot more.”
Coach Mary Johnson’s Lady Vikings (17-13, 2-5) did a good job of holding off match point in the fourth set, fighting off defeat five times before succumbing. They also held off set point four times in the opening game.
“I think this team has a great fight and huge hearts. The problem is, we don't have the size to match those hearts,” said Johnson, whose team was coming off an emotional five-set loss against Sullivan South on Wednesday. “The girls know — and it’s not a secret — that if we don't block, we don't win. Unfortunately, I sometimes put a lot of pressure on the front row, but that’s the reality of volleyball. If we’re playing another team that’s bigger than us and they have great hitters, we have to slow them down.”
The teams played pretty much point for point in the second set before the Lady Vikings went on a 7-0 run. That gave Tennessee High a bit of breathing room, though Boone eventually caught up to tie the set at 24.
“In that second set, we had eight or nine blocks and we won the set,” Johnson said. “In the others, we only had two or three and we lost. That’s just a straight statistical thing for our team.”
Kloey Tester led Tennessee High with 15 kills and eight digs, and Jamaiya Honaker had 13 kills. Madison Curtin amassed 12 assists, Riley McCracken had 11, and Evie Cozart and Macy Hurley each had six digs.
Baker sees room for improvement in her Lady ’Blazers.
“We need to work on reading the short-and-deep better and we need to take care of every single ball,” Baker said. “That’s where a lot of teams struggle, when other teams start tipping a lot. They react to the tip and aren't ready for the deep ball. We also need to work on closing our block. If our block isn’t set, it throws off the entire defense.”
The Lady ’Blazers are back in action Monday with a nonconference match against Gate City. Tennessee High hosts David Crockett on Tuesday.