Erin Hill was simply too much for the Hixson Lady Wildcats to handle Monday evening.
The Sale Creek senior, perhaps the most dominant volleyball player in the Chattanooga area, had her way for much of the match as she finished the day with 37 kills and 10 digs to pace the Lady Panthers to their 20th win of the season.
Sale Creek is now 20-11 after the 3-1 victory.
Hixson won the first set with relative ease. With junior Marissa Murray recording back-to-back aces, the Lady Wildcats broke away from a 14-14 tie to win the first set by a 25-19 final.
Sale Creek then came back to win the next three by scores of 25-13, 25-23 and 25-22.
Hixson had continued playing well at the start of the second set and had a 6-1 advantage before the Lady Panthers scored six of the next seven to knot the score at 7. Regan Garrett, who had four straight service points, then delivered an ace as Sale Creek led for the first time at 8-7.
The Sale Creek lead was 16-10 when Hill completely took over, recording five kills and a block on six straight points as the Lady Panthers won going away.
Then in the third set, Sale Creek's biggest lead came at 22-15 before Hixson rallied to get within 24-23, but once more, Hill had a cross-court kill for the winning point.
Sale Creek built another lead of 23-16 in the fourth set, only to watch as Hixson rallied to score five of the next six points to make it interesting before the Lady Panthers capitalized on a Hixson error for the match point.
"We tried to hand it back there at the end, but our overall effort was good and our serve receive was better than it has been," said Sale Creek coach Debbie Hill after the non-district match ended.
"Sometimes we come out at the start of a match flat and with no fire, but I thought we responded well after losing the first set. Hixson has beaten us in three straight matches, including 3-0 in our first match of the year, so this is a good win for our team.
"Janet and I go a long way back, but we always enjoy playing Hixson as it's always a good match," Hill added.
Hixson coach Janet Tate is very rarely a person short on words, but that was the case when this match concluded.
"I simply don't know what to tell you right now," she began, searching for the right thing to say without being critical of her team.
"Sale Creek played well and Erin Hill is a fabulous player. She's also a great kid. They were able to make some adjustments, but we didn't. We had a long talk after a recent match at East Hamilton about believing in ourselves. We 're still having a hard time buying into that concept.
"If we can't believe in our own ability to play well against a good team, it's tough to win. We can't seem to get over the hump. But love playing against Sale Creek as it's always close.
"We play East Ridge here Tuesday afternoon and we'll see if we can do a little bit better," Tate said after her team fell to 17-19.
While Hill was far and away the most dominant player on the floor for either team, Megan Storey helped Sale Creek's cause with 33 assists. Brooke Welch and Garrett finished with 20 and 16 digs, respectively, while Krissy Hodge finished with nine kills.
Kennady Thomason had 14 kills and five blocks to pace Hixson while Chance Davis finished with 28 assists, 15 digs, three kills and a pair of aces.
Abigail Tipton had 18 digs while Paige Lawson had 11 kills and three blocks.
While Hixson will be at home again on Tuesday to host East Ridge, Sale Creek will be on the road again for a match at Richard Hardy.
SALE CREEK STATS:
Sara Wilkinson -- 3 assists, 2 blocks;
Erin Hill -- 37 kills, 10 digs, 2 blocks;
Krissy Hodge -- 9 kills;
Regan Garrett -- 16 digs;
Mikayla Crowder -- 3 blocks, 2 kills;
Megan Storey -- 33 assists;
Brooke Welch -- 20 digs.
Chance Davis -- 2 aces, 3 kills, 15 digs, 28 assists;
Kennady Thomason -- 14 kills, 5 blocks;
Ceria Taylor -- 1 ace, 5 kills, 14 digs;
Abigail Tipton -- 18 digs;
Paige Lawson -- 11 kills, 3 blocks;
Morghan White -- 2 aces, 2 kills, 10 digs.
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)