Ashley Rose says that she rarely gets tense before or during a volleyball match, but the energetic Boyd-Buchanan coach admitted that she was just a little bit nervous before Wednesday night's District 5-A championship match with the CSAS Lady Patriots.
It didn't take long for Rose to get rid of her jitters as her team jumped to a 6-0 lead in the first set en route to a 3-0 victory over the second-seeded Lady Patriots.
Boyd-Buchanan won by scores of 25-17, 25-20 and 25-23. The Lady Bucs are now 27-13 overall and have now won six straight 5-A tournament titles.
Both teams advance to the Region 3-A tournament, which will be held at Sale Creek on Monday.
CSAS, now 17-13, faces 6-A champ Sale Creek at 4:30 while Boyd-Buchanan takes on 6-A runner-up Lookout Valley around 6. Then those two winners meet for the championship somewhere in the neighborhood of 7:30.
"Normally, I don't get nervous before a volleyball match, but I was today. I felt a lot better after we scored the first six points," Rose said after all of the hardware had been distributed.
"We won every way that we could. We had a fast start, we had to come from behind and we played well in the middle. We had split with them during the regular season and knew they wouldn't quit, but we have a lot of new girls on this team and you never know how they will react.
"We've had a lot of ups and downs this year, but this was a whole lot like last year. We had already reached our goal before today's match began, but it's nice to win so we don't have to play the other district champion in the first match.
"It's always an advantage for us to play at home and today is no different. The crowd was great and that helped a lot," Rose nodded.
CSAS coach Samantha Everett echoed similar sentiments as Rose concerning Tuesday's win over Silverdale that clinched a spot in the region.
"I felt like we left it all on the court today, but we had our big moment on Tuesday," Everett began.
"At least we came back and showed some fight in that third set, but we let the little things go and that hurt. I'm pleased with how we played in that last set, but we started too slow. Overall, it wasn't bad, but I wish it had gone better. We'll have to do a better job blocking than we did today," Everett nodded.
The Lady Bucs never looked back after getting the big lead early in the opening set. The biggest lead for the Lady Bucs was 11 points at 15-4 following an ace by Halie Williamson and then at 16-5 following a kill by Sydney Spencer.
Arica Montgomery's ace drew the Lady Patriots to within 24-17, but the next serve sailed long as the Lady Bucs got the early advantage.
The second and third sets were a lot closer and much more fun to watch.
CSAS jumped to a 3-0 lead in the second set and had a 15-14 lead before Rose called a timeout.
The Lady Patriots had the lead at 19-18 before Spencer knotted the score with a kill and the Lady Bucs then scored six of the last seven points for a 2-0 edge in the best-of-five match.
CSAS got an ace and three more service points from Briana Taylor as the Lady Patriots were looking good with a 12-5 lead. They maintained the upper hand until Asia Kirkman had two kills around an ace to give the Lady Bucs a 20-19 lead.
A kill from Rachel Bossong gave the Lady Patriots a 22-21 lead before Kristen Reynolds had a kill to knot the score once more at 22-22.
Then with the score tied for the final time at 23, Reynolds recorded the final two of her 13 kills to clinch the tournament title for the Lady Bucs.
Reynolds, who was named the regular-season MVP as well as the tournament outstanding player, finished the match with 14 assists, 13 kills, seven digs and an ace.
Katie Delay had 39 digs while Williamson was tops with 21 assists.
Taylor set the pace for CSAS with 24 digs while Natalie Cooper followed with 16. Brooke Mitchell was the leader up front for the Lady Patriots with eight kills while Ashley Boles finished with six assists, seven digs and a pair of blocks.
ALL DISTRICT 5-A TEAM
V.C. Crittenden (CGLA); Christine Kennedy (Copper Basin); Alexandra Smith, Serena Turner (Grace); Mckenzie Harris, Caroline Couch (Silverdale); Brooke Mitchell, Briana Taylor, Brittany Patmon (CSAS); Katie DeLay, Sarah Emrey, Lauren Van Eaton (Boyd-Buchanan) and MVP Kristen Reynolds (Boyd-Buchanan)
Lua Martinez (CGLA); McKenzie Harris, Caroline Couch (Silverdale); Hannah Matthews, Alexandra Smith (Grace); Rachel Bossong, Neethu Kurien, Natalie Cooper (CSAS); Katie DeLay, Halie Williamson, Sydney Spencer (Boyd-Buchanan) and MVP Kristen Reynolds (Boyd-Buchanan)
Ashley Boles -- 6 assists, 7 digs, 2 blocks;
Natalie Cooper -- 16 digs;
Britany Patmon -- 8 digs, 2 blocks, 4 assists;
Neethu Kurien -- 13 digs;
Rachel Bossong -- 4 kills, 4 digs, 3 blocks;
Briana Taylor -- 24 digs;
Arica Montgomery -- 5 kills, 1 dig, 2 blocks;
Brooke Mitchell -- 8 kills, 2 digs, 2 blocks.
Lauren Van Eaton -- 3 digs, 3 kills;
Sarah Emrey -- 3 kills;
Katie DeLay -- 3 aces, 39 digs;
Asia Kirkman -- 8 digs, 6 kills, 1 ace;
Kristen Reynolds -- 7 digs, 13 kills, 14 assists, 1 ace;
Allie Ray -- 5 digs, 2 kills, 1 assist;
Sydney Spencer -- 1 dig, 8 kills, 6 aces;
Halie Williamson -- 8 digs, 21 assists, 1 ace;
Sarah Keller -- 6 digs.
(Email John Hunt at email@example.com)