Signal Mountain Sweeps Hixson For State Berth

Lady Eagles Now 41-7 After Advancing To State Volleyball For Fifth Straight Year

Thursday, October 12, 2017 - by John Hunt

The final hurdle has been cleared and the folks from Signal Mountain are making final plans for another trip to the state volleyball tournament next week.

It all begins on Tuesday in Murfreesboro and the Lady Eagles will be making their fifth straight trip with hopes of improving on last year’s runner-up finish.

First-year head coach Bailee Barrett was less than pleased on Tuesday when her girls cruised to the Region 4-AA title, but she felt a whole lot more satisfied on Thursday after the Lady Eagles advanced with a 3-0 win over district and region runner-up Hixson.

Set scores on Thursday were 25-13, 25-15 and 25-14.

It was a bittersweet ending for Hixson coach Janet Tate, who coached her final match for the Lady Wildcats after serving as their head coach these past 19 years.  Nobody is ever happy ending their season with a loss, but Tate walked away with a smile on her face.

“It’s been a great run and I’ve been part of some great teams at Hixson, but I have no regrets whatsoever about my decision to step aside.  We had a great season this fall and I’m proud that we got this far, but what a team Signal Mountain has,” she said minutes after the final point had been scored.

“Physically, we just can’t match up with a team like that as we never stopped Maia Rackel.  She’s a great player and is going to get her kills, but it was pretty lackluster performance on our part.  I thought we were ready coming in, but I think we just got a little bit overwhelmed.  Actions speak louder than words in a situation like this, so there’s not much else to say,” she added.

The Lady Eagles are on a roll as they improved to 41-7 with their 15th straight win.  While Barrett may have been complaining two days ago, she was the happiest person in the gym on Thursday.

“That was a whole lot better than what we did on Tuesday as it was much closer to the level of play we’re capable of playing.  The biggest thing was our consistency.  Our passing was great, so when we’re in system, we can be hard to beat.

“We have multiple great hitters up front.  I know that Maia Rackel gets a lot of publicity about her play up front, but it’s nice that we have several options to choose from.  Maia can jump so high that she can hit it over most blocks, but our offense tonight was evenly spread and that made our job overall a lot easier.

“Kate Barry played another great match as our setter who knows how to put it in the right spot most of the time.  She has great instincts and knows where everyone else is, but she played as well as anybody tonight.

“We have five seniors who have finished runner-up twice and fourth once.  Qualifying for state has been our number one goal all year and now we’ve accomplished that.  We’re just hoping to be playing in Murphy Center on Thursday afternoon,” Barrett said in reference to the Class AA championship match.

Hixson never led in the first set and the only advantage for the Lady Wildcats in the second set was at 1-0 and 2-1.  They also had a 1-0 lead in the third set before the Lady Eagles slowly pulled away.

Rackel performed extremely well in her final match at home as she finished with 17 kills and 11 digs.

Fellow seniors Barry, Olivia Powers, Cora Hansen and Mackenzie Lewis also played well as Barry had 38 assists in addition to 10 digs and six kills.  Powers had eight kills and three blocks while Hansen had seven kills and six blocks. Lewis finished with 11 digs.

Dakota Rawiszer was the best on Hixson’s side as she finished with five kills, six assists and two digs.  Shelby Rector had a pair of aces while Abby Rector was credited with 13 digs.

Hixson’s season ends at 19-19.

HIXSON STATS:

Dakota Rawiszer – 5 kills, 2 digs, 6 assists

Marly Fitzpatrick – 1 ace, 1 dig

Rachel Cline – 4 digs

Sydni Byerley – 4 kills

Annie Zeigler – 3 kills, 5 digs

Shelby Rector – 2 aces, 3 kills, 1 block, 3 digs

Abby Rector – 2 kills, 13 digs

Gabby Tench – 1 ace, 2 kills, 2 digs, 4 assists.

SIGNAL MOUNTAIN STATS:

Kate Barry – 1 ace, 6 kills, 38 assists, 10 digs

Cora Hansen – 6 blocks, 7 kills

Alexia Hensley – 3 digs

Francie Hunt – 3 digs, 1 ace

Megan Kincer – 4 kills, 2 digs

Mackenzie Lewis – 1 ace, 1 block, 3 kills, 11 digs

Briley Lowry – 1 dig

Olivia Powers – 3 blocks, 8 kills, 2 digs

Maia Rackel – 2 blocks, 17 kills, 11 digs.

(email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@gmail.com)

 



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