Signal Mountain Beats Upperman For 4-AA Title

Maia Rackel Has 33 Kills, 26 Digs As Lady Eagles Improve To 40-7

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - by John Hunt
Signal Mountain setter Kate Barry had 38 assists in the Lady Eagles win over Upperman on Tuesday.
Signal Mountain setter Kate Barry had 38 assists in the Lady Eagles win over Upperman on Tuesday.
- photo by Greg Davick

A lot of good things happened on Tuesday night for the Signal Mountain volleyball team, but first-year head coach Bailey Chastain wasn’t the least bit pleased.

Oh, the Eagles won a pair of matches in straight-set sweeps to win the Region 4-AA championship and they won their 40th match in the process.  And now they will be at home on Thursday to face the Hixson Lady Wildcats for a berth in next week’s TSSAA state tournament, which begins in Murfreesboro on Tuesday.

Despite all of that, Chastain still wasn’t happy.

The Upperman Bees had a real tussle with Red Bank in the first semifinal at Signal on Tuesday before advancing with a 3-1 win, taking the match by scores of 25-22, 19-25, 25-20 and 25-15.

Signal Mountain had much less trouble eliminating Livingston Academy in the second semifinal by dominant scores of 25-6, 25-7 and 25-13.

The Lady Eagles then beat Upperman in three sets for the region title by scores of 25-17, 27-25 and 25-21, but there was nothing easy about this win as the Lady Bees battled for all they were worth and made the Lady Eagles earn every point they scored.

The biggest difference in the match was the presence of Signal Mountain senior Maia Rackel, who along with fellow seniors Cora Hansen and Olivia Powers, totally dominated play along the net.

The Bees weren’t as tall and they weren’t as physical, but they refused to go easily as they scrapped and scrapped for all they were worth.

“I thought we played well enough, but Upperman has a great team and they played great defense tonight.  We didn’t perform as well as we could have as we still have a lot of work to do, but we’re happy to be in this position,” said Chastain after her team had improved to 40-7 for the season.

“Maia is obviously our go-to player, but we have several other good hitters in addition to her.  But we’re still making the same mistakes that we should have corrected by now.  It got a little chaotic at times.  I normally don’t call girls out, but I had to do that a couple of times tonight.

“But it’s still a really good win for us, even though we didn’t play well,” Chastain added.

Upperman coach Wayne Lewis expressed his displeasure at times with the way his girls were playing, but when all was said and done, he was more than pleased with the effort he got.

“That’s by far the best we’ve ever played them.  Normally they beat us like a drum, but at least we gave them some trouble tonight.  The good news is that we’re still alive to play another day,” Lewis began his post-match comments.

“It all boils down to the little things in a match like this as they mount up over time.  In a close one like this, one mistake is all it takes.  We were so close to be so far away, but we’re happy with the way we played.  I thought we might have a chance tonight,” he said with optimism.

Hansen had back-to-back kills to start the match as Signal Mountain never trailed in the first set.

The Eagles went on the score eight of the first 10 points and it looked like another quick set, but the Bees had other ideas.

Upperman got as close as three points at 9-6, but a kill from Powers got the Lady Eagles on a roll and it never got any closer.

The second set was the best of the evening in any match.

A kill from Rackel gave Signal Mountain a quick 1-0 lead, but Upperman then took charge and led most of the way before the Lady Eagles regained the advantage at 18-17. Signal’s lead got to 24-22 on a kill by Kate Barry, but Upperman scored the next three points with the last coming on a Signal hitting error and giving the guests from Baxter a 25-24 lead.

A hitting error by the Bees knotted the score one more time before Rackel saved the day for the Lady Eagles with back-to-back kills.

Upperman scored four of the first five points in the third set, but six straight service points from Alexia Hensley allowed the Lady Eagles to turn the tide and they never trailed again.  A kill from Mackenzie Lewis a little later clinched the match for the Signal Mountain team.

Rackel had 20 kills and 13 digs to lead the winners while teammate Barry had 38 assists and 10 digs.  Powers followed with nine kills while Hansen finished with seven.

Thursday’s sectional matches begin at 7 p.m. with Signal Mountain hosting Hixson and Upperman traveling to East Hamilton.

SIGNAL MOUNTAIN STATS VS. UPPERMAN:

Kate Barry – 1 ace, 1 block, 3 kills, 38 assists, 10 digs

Cora Hansen – 7 kills

Alexia Hensley – 9 digs

Megan Kincer – 2 blocks, 2 kills, 1 dig, 1 ace

Mackenzie Lewis – 1 ace, 3 kills, 10 digs

Briley Lowry – 9 digs

Olivia Powers – 9 kills, 1 dig, 1 block

Maia Rackel – 2 aces, 3 blocks, 20 kills, 13 digs

SIGNAL MOUNTAIN STATS VS. LIVINGSTON ACADEMY:

Kate Barry – 7 aces, 1 kill, 34 assists, 9 digs

Cora Hansen – 8 kills, 4 digs

Alexia Hensley – 6 digs, 1 ace

Francie Hunt – 4 digs

Megan Kincer – 3 kills, 4 digs

Mackenzie Lewis – 4 aces, 5 kills, 8 digs

Briley Lowry – 7 digs

Olivia Powers – 7 kills, 3 digs

Maia Rackel – 2 blocks, 13 kills, 13 digs.

RED BANK STATS VS. UPPERMAN:

Arreyanna Glass – 2 blocks

Zoe Helms – 4 digs

Zanobia Pratt – 3 kills, 1 assist, 1 dig

Shelby Romans – 4 kills 10 assists, 9 digs

Hannah Wood – 1 ace, 11 kills, 1 block, 7 digs, 7 assists

Mya Kennebrew – 5 kills, 2 blocks, 1 assist, 3 digs

Layla Babb – 1 ace, 1 kill, 25 digs

Bailee Phillips – 3 aces, 1 kill, 1 block, 11 digs.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@gmail.com)



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