The Chattanooga Christian Lady Chargers were pumped and ready to play some volleyball Thursday night.
With a spirited crowd standing and cheering at virtually every point, the Lady Chargers took advantage of that emotional edge and beat Notre Dame in three straight sets to earn the second seed in next week's District 7-AA tournament.
Based on Thursday's results, Signal Mountain, CCS and Notre Dame all finished with 8-2 district records, but the Lady Eagles will be seeded first while CCS will be second and Notre Dame third.
Notre Dame will host Sequatchie County on Monday while Bledsoe County will host Grundy County. Signal Mountain waits for the Bledsoe-Grundy winner while the Lady Chargers will take on the Notre Dame-Sequatchie Co. winner in semifinal action on Tuesday with the winners facing off for the district title later on Tuesday.
Signal Mountain defeated Sequatchie County in three straight sets to wrap up the number one seed. The Lady Eagles had split with CCS and Notre Dame, but the difference was that Signal had won their two matches by 3-0 scores while they had lost by 3-1 counts.
But on a night where the stakes were high, the Lady Chargers took full advantage to win by scores of 25-20, 25-23 and 25-20.
"We were looking to make a statement and that was a statement win," CCS coach Brian Wood told his girls moments after the final point had been scored.
"We came out ready to play and we kept our composure at times when in the past, we might have lost it, but it was a great match. I haven't seen that kind of fight from my girls in quite a while, but we didn't miss many serves and we kept the ball in play.
"We served aggressively and fed off the emotion of the crowd. That was certainly a key for us tonight as we're an emotional team," Wood added.
There were 11 ties in the first set, the last being at 19. Junior Taylor Youell scored on a block to give the Lady Chargers a 20-19 lead before uncorking four straight service points to give her team the edge. Erin Jackson's kill from the back secured the win for the hostesses.
Notre Dame appeared to get the kinks out in the second set and pretty much had the lead throughout, but again the Lady Chargers came storming back late to regain control.
The Lady Irish had a 21-17 lead before CCS scored five of the next six points for a 22-22 tie.
Youell had three service points in that stretch, including a momentum-swinging ace for a 23-22 lead.
Kayle Stone had a kill for Notre Dame to tie the score at 23, but the next serve sailed out of bounds long and Riley Visser wrapped up things for the Lady Chargers with another kill.
Notre Dame bolted to a 4-0 lead in the third set before CCS evened the score with four straight points. The Lady Irish again had the upper hand for most of the set before an ace from Madison Schuster knotted the score for the last time at 16.
Schuster, the most consistent server on the Chattanooga Christian team, then delivered five more points which included two more aces, as the CCS lead swelled to 21-16.
Jackson and Emily Henderson had back-to-back kills to give the Lady Chargers a commanding 24-20 lead before Jackson clinched the match with another ace.
Notre Dame coach Ted Hackett was hoping for different results, but it just wasn't meant to be on this occasion.
"Obviously we're all disappointed, but everything will be alright," he said after a post-match talk with his girls.
"We could have used a rainout," he continued as he broke into a grin.
"That's a very good volleyball team over there. They executed today and we didn't, but we just have to reset and try to focus on Monday's match.
"We played a great match today, but the results just didn't go our way. It was a great atmosphere with a very vocal crowd which obviously helped them. It was a fun match, but my heart was pounding the entire time," he concluded.
Jackson, one of four seniors on the CCS team, finished with eight kills and five blocks. Youell had 26 assists and six aces in a supporting role.
Stephanie Bouchard had 10 kills and eight digs to spark Notre Dame's attack. Danika Dorris had 13 digs while Ragen Dobson finished with 24 assists.
Notre Dame had won the earlier meeting between these two teams by a 3-2 margin, including a 16-14 victory in the fifth set.
NOTRE DAME STATS:
Ragen Dobson -- 24 assists, 7 digs, 1 kill, 1 ace;
Keri Klassen -- 1 kill, 11 digs;
Randi Clement -- 4 kills, 1 block, 3 digs;
Michaela Guice -- 11 digs;
Tess Scobey -- 3 blocks, 2 digs;
Mallory Hein -- 1 ace, 3 kills, 2 blocks, 2 digs;
Danika Dorris -- 13 digs;
Kayle Stone -- 9 kills, 3 blocks;
Stephanie Bouchard -- 1 ace, 10 kills, 1 block, 8 digs.
CHATTANOOGA CHRISTIAN STATS:
Erin Jackson -- 8 kills, 5 blocks;
Sarah Beth Riggs -- 6 kills;
Riley Visser -- 5 kills;
Taylor Youell -- 6 aces, 26 assists;
Emily Henderson -- 5 kills;
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)