By the end of the fourth day of the regular season, the Ooltewah volleyball team had already recorded its fourth victory.
And although the Lady Owls know they have a tough road ahead of them, they can’t help but be pleased with their strong start to a long season.
Especially after starting off district play with a 3-1 victory over 5-AAA rival Soddy-Daisy at home Thursday evening.
“In this district, every night is a tough night,” Ooltewah coach Elaine Peigen said. “You just have to be ready to play. I was pleased with our play tonight, with the exception of some costly unforced errors in the second game. But you have to give Soddy-Daisy credit. They’re a great team and they took advantage.”
Ooltewah opened with a 25-20 win in game one after holding off a late Lady Trojans rally. In game two, the teams traded leads until Soddy-Daisy scored the final six points to turn a 20-19 deficit into a 25-20 victory.
With the match tied at one win apiece, Ooltewah’s Courtlyn Ison opened game three with five kills in her team’s 8-3 opening run, and continued her strong hitting on the way to a 25-19 victory. Ison, who finished with a match-high 20 kills, recorded three in a row early in game four to help the Lady Owls build a lead.
They extended it with a 5-0 run midway through the game, and closed out a 25-14 victory by scoring the final five points of the match.
Ison finished with five blocks to go with her 20 kills, many of which came off assists from sophomore Hanna Matthews, who totaled 27 assists, four kills and five blocks. Josie Cainn led the defense with 16 digs, while freshman Sidney Killingsworth contributed six kills and Bethany Spange finished with 11 digs, three kills, two blocks and two aces.
“Courtlyn had some big hits and blocks, and Sidney stepped in and played well tonight,” Peigen said. “I thought Josie did a nice job adjusting to their hitters, and Hanna is doing a great job running our offense and using all the options.”
The loss dropped Soddy-Daisy to 1-2 overall and 0-2 in the district after losing a tough match to Walker Valley earlier in the week. Coach Lorri Johnson said she has already seen her young team grow up a lot this week, and expects that growth to continue as the Lady Trojans battle their way through a tough district schedule.
“There’s not a weak team in this district,” Johnson said. “At the end, only two are going on to the region, so it’s a fight all year long to see who those two teams are going to be. Last year we needed a tiebreaker to decide who would finish first in the regular season, so everything counts. It’s just a fight from beginning to end.”
(E-mail Jaime Barrett at email@example.com)
Josie Cainn -- 16 digs, 2 aces
Summer Williams -- 6 digs, 1 ace
Bethany Spange --11 digs, 3 kills, 2 aces, 2 blocks
Hanna Matthews -- 4 kills, 27 assists, 5 blocks
Alex Biro -- 3 kills, 4 digs, 1 ace, 1 assist, 4 blocks
Courtlyn Ison -- 20 kills, 3 digs, 5 blocks
Sidney Killingsworth -- 6 kills, 2 blocks
Allie Jones -- 5 kills, 1 assist, 1 block
Sloan Sullivan -- 2 digs
Lauren Smith -- 9 kills, 1 block
Haley Reynolds -- 7 kills, 5 blocks
Chloe Mitchell -- 7 kills, 27 assists
Abby Walker -- 4 kills, 3 blocks, 2 aces
Karigan Fulghum -- 3 kills, 2 aces