Cleveland Dominates Blackman 3-0 For Berth In 3A State Volleyball Tourney

Lady Raiders Claim Sectional, Second Straight Trip To Murfreesboro

Thursday, October 12, 2017 - by special to The Chattanoogan.com

Cleveland was not going to be denied a second straight trip to the state volleyball tournament.

The Lady Blue Raiders torched Blackman 3-0 Thursday night at Raider Arena to win a Class 3A Sectional matchup and earn another shot at a TSSAA state title behind one of the team’s strongest efforts of the season.

Cleveland (33-15) swept the Lady Blaze with set scores of 25-17, 25-20 and 25-20.

“We played lights out,” Cleveland coach Trish Flowers said. “As a team, we played awesome and I couldn’t be more proud of the girls. The stars seem to be aligned for us this year.”

The state tournament runs Tuesday through Thursday next week and action will be held at three sites in Murfreesboro – Blackman and Siegel high schools and Middle Tennessee State University’s Murphy Center.

The Lady Raiders, who participated in their first state tournament in 2016, were powered by Emma Flowers’ 23 kills, Anna Renshaw’s 31 assists and 15 digs by Hannah Longley.

Those performances helped Cleveland add a Sectional title to District 5-3A and Region 3-3A tournament championships.

“It was definitely a team effort,” coach Flowers said in a telephone interview. “We came out ready to play and executed the game plan. From start to finish we never wavered and pretty much led the pack the whole night.”

Cleveland’s only hiccup came in the second set when the Blaze scored the first five points. Trish Flowers called a timeout and settled her team down.

“We got refocused, got back on the court and got those five points back and then some,” she said. “The girls were pumped up and we had the home crowd behind us and it turned into a good night.”

Emma Flowers had eight kills and seven digs in the first set and Renshaw put up 11 assists helping the Lady Raiders to an early lead. Renshaw had 10 assists in each of the last two sets and when Cleveland had Blackman on the ropes Flowers hurt the Blaze with nine kills in the finale.

Lily Oliver had 1 ½ blocks in the third set and Longley added two aces and four digs.

After a two-day break, Cleveland will practice Sunday and Monday and then head for Murfreesboro.

“The fact that most of the girls experienced state last year and know what it feels like we hope to be more prepared for what to expect,” Trish Flowers said. “We’ll go in playing some of our best volleyball, but it’s going to depend on who we play.”

A year ago, the Lady Raiders beat Oakland in the Sectional and opened the state tournament with a 3-0 loss to Siegel. Cleveland beat Ravenwood 3-1 and was eliminated a day later with a 3-0 loss to Farragut.

STATISTICS

Cleveland

Anna Renshaw – 2 aces, ½ block, 9 digs, 7 kills, 31 assists

Emma Flowers – 2 aces, 15 digs, 23 kills, 2 assists

Hannah Longley – 2 aces, 15 digs, 1 assist

Joy Douglass – ½ block, 8 digs, 3 kills

Kenli Young – 1 dig

Lily Oliver – 2 blocks, 2 digs, 4 kills

Nicole Glaser – 3 aces, 1 block, 5  digs, 2 kills, 1 assist

Sofia Lakatosh – 1 ace, 2 digs, 3 kills

(Contact Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com and on Twitter@larryfleming44)



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