Signal Mountain Advances To State Volleyball Tournament

Lady Eagles Defeat Central 3-1 In Sectional Matchup

Thursday, October 17, 2013 - by Jaime Barrett
After the first set of Thursday night’s Class AA state volleyball sectional, Region 4 champion Signal Mountain found itself in need of a serious momentum shift.

By the end of the second set against 3-AA runner-up Central, the Lady Eagles had found it.

The Lady Pounders raced to a 25-16 victory in the opening set, and had their chances to close out a victory in game two against host Signal Mountain. Instead, the Lady Eagles finished a 27-25 win and went on to a 3-1 match victory that puts them in next week’s state tournament in Murfreesboro.

“It was huge,” Signal Mountain coach Jennifer Redman said of her team’s comeback. “Even the second game was close. I don’t know that it was one thing in particular that turned it around. These girls just  love each other and they weren’t ready for it to be over.”

Central, which won the District 6-AA title over Red Bank before falling to the Lady Lions in the region final, started out strong in game one, and battled to the end of the second set, but wasn’t able to force the Lady Eagles into a 0-2 hole.

Instead, the 27-25 victory tied the match at 1-1 and appeared to shift the momentum in Signal Mountain’s favor.

“That gave us some confidence,” Redman said. “We didn’t know a whole lot about Central, but they’ve got some very good hitters. So for us to be able to come back and win a close game was a definitely a big momentum swing.”

The Lady Eagles’ Taelor Kellum provided some big swings of her own in helping her team pull away to a 25-16 win in the third set. She finished with 14 kills and four blocks, including one that put Signal Mountain up 19-11 in the fourth set. A Central service error gave the Lady Eagles a 21-12 lead, but the tough Lady Pounders weren’t ready to give up.

They fought their way back to within 23-20, but a side out gave Signal Mountain match point, and the Lady Eagles then served up an ace for the 25-20 victory.

“This is not the first time that they’ve been in that situation,” Redman said. “We had to keep reminding them that it was just another volleyball game. We said you’ve played 52 others, and you know how to go out there and finish.”

Aryn Sanders finished with 16 digs for Signal Mountain, while Amanda Thielges contributed 21 assists. The Lady Eagles will take their 33-21 record to Murfreesboro next week, where they will compete for the first time at state as a Class AA team.

Signal Mountain won the Class A state championship in 2010, but fell in the sectional round the past two seasons after moving up a classification.

“This means a lot,” Redman said. “To think about where this team was and where they are now is really incredible. They’ve come together at the right time.”

(E-mail Jaime Barrett at

Signal Mountain stats -- Aryn Sanders 16 digs; Taelor Kellum 14 kills, 4 blocks, 5 digs; Kennady Collick 5 kills, 4 digs; Aubrie Johnson 2 kills, 1 block, 1 dig; Amanda Thielges 1 kill, 21 assists, 5 digs; Carolynn Thielges 1 ace, 9 digs; Hallie Hunt 2 kills, 9 digs; Kira Carlton 8 digs; Natalie Grere 1 kill, 3 digs.

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