Virtually every high school coach plans their individual schedules around facing the best possible competition to better prepare for post-season tournaments and the ultimate goal of winning a state championship.
That is certainly the case in volleyball. Red Bank and Boyd-Buchanan went to Baylor Tuesday afternoon for a three-way match and all three coaches shared that same common goal.
Host Baylor beat Red Bank in the first match and Boyd-Buchanan in the last while Red Bank had Boyd-Buchanan's number in the middle match.
All three matches were determined in two-straight sets.
Baylor beat Red Bank 25-15 and 25-17 before the Lady Lions rebounded to beat the Lady Bucs, 25-16 and 25-20. Then Baylor came on strong at the end to beat Boyd-Buchanan, 25-16 and 25-17.
"It's not so much that we played bad as Baylor played extremely well," said Red Bank coach Christel Brooks, her team now 13-6 with the split.
"We were flat against Baylor and I don't know if we were tired from a tough Choo Choo tournament, but we were able to pick it up against Boyd-Buchanan and appeared to be a little bit more fired up.
"We were able to use our hitters better in the second match. We're getting there. I thought that Allison Walker had an outstanding day for us, but it's nice to finish on a positive note," Brooks added.
Boyd-Buchanan coach Ashley Scott saw some bright spots in spite of the two defeats.
"We had a bad case of the Mondays on a Tuesday. I don't think we've been a full strength yet as we had two starters out today. I thought we played well at times. When we were good, we were pretty good, but bad was really bad.
"This is the caliber of teams we'll face in the post-season and that's why we play these bigger teams. Even though both of those teams were bigger than us, we didn't back down, although somebody might think that when they see the scores.
"We kept it close for a while, but you have to handle the pressure late in close games and we didn't do as good a job on that as I would have liked," Scott nodded.
Baylor coach Sarah Lail was overall happy with her team's effort, especially considering the fact their region play starts on Thursday with a match in Nashville against Harpeth Hall.
"We've been working on our team chemistry. We had good ball control against Red Bank as that was a very good match for us. That's what we're striving for. We didn't come out as strong against Boyd-Buchanan.
"We started slow against them, but picked it up as the game progressed. Megan Kaylor had some strong serves in that match, which allowed us to pull away. I feel like we're at a good starting spot for our first region match on Thursday," Lail concluded.
Mandi Jones, Kristen Reynolds and Lindsey Yates were the leaders for Boyd-Buchanan.
Jones finished with 17 digs, two kills and an assist while Reynolds had nine kills, six assists, four digs and an ace. Yates finished the day with 23 assists and 11 digs.
Savannah Nelson, Ansley Helton and Abby Graham were the leaders for Red Bank.
Nelson had 18 kills to go along with a block and an ace while Helton had 20 digs in addition to five kills, three aces and a block. Graham was tops with 45 assists while also recording 14 digs, two kills and an ace.
Rachel Travis, Madeline Rose and Kaylor spearheaded the Baylor effort.
Travis had 22 kills, 13 digs, an ace and one and a half blocks while Rose had nine kills, 13 digs and two blocks. Kaylor had 35 assists to go along with eight digs, six aces and five kills.
COMBINED RED BANK STATS:
Savannah Nelson -- 18 kills, 1 block, 1 ace;
Ansley Helton -- 5 kills, 1 block, 20 digs, 3 aces;
Shelby Hayes -- 13 kills, 10 digs;
Abby Graham -- 2 kills, 45 assists, 14 digs, 1 ace;
Autumn Babb -- 21 digs;
Allison Walker -- 11 kills, 6 digs, 1 ace;
Hannah Wilson -- 6 digs;
Caitlyn Jenkins -- 1 kill, 2 blocks.
COMBINED BOYD-BUCHANAN STATS:
Mandi Jones -- 17 digs, 2 kills, 1 assist;
Maddy Howard -- 1 dig, 6 kills;
Kristen Reynolds -- 4 digs, 9 kills, 6 assists, 1 ace;
Madison Balthrop -- 1 dig, 3 kills;
Sarah Cupp -- 6 digs;
Lindsey Yates -- 11 digs, 23 assists;
Sydney Spencer -- 2 digs, 4 kills;
Lauren Van Eaton -- 2 kills;
Katie Delay -- 32 digs, 2 aces.
COMBINED BAYLOR STATS:
Greyson Ingle -- 5 kills, 1 dig;
Kate Kaufman -- 4 kills, 4 digs;
Haven Bethune -- 1 ace, 3 digs;
Madeline Rose -- 9 kills, 13 digs, 2 blocks;
Macall Nabors -- 11 digs;
Rachel Travis -- 22 kills, 13 digs, 1 ace, 1.5 blocks;
Megan Kaylor -- 5 kills, 35 assists, 6 aces, 8 digs.
Rachel Ford -- 4 kills, 6 digs.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)