MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The 2017 state volleyball tournament didn’t start out the way the Sale Creek Lady Panthers had hoped.
Facing the Berean Christian Lady Eagles from Knoxville in the first round, Sale Creek never led in the match and were basically beaten by a better team.
Set scores were 25-16, 25-14 and 25-13.
Things were a bit better for the Lady Panthers as they rallied to beat Union City in the first round of the losers bracket, Sale Creek winning by scores of 25-12, 25-8 and 25-13.
Sale Creek had been playing really well in recent weeks as they won district and regional titles with impressive sweeps and the Lady Panthers didn’t seem to have much trouble beating Gordonsville in the sectional.
But for a team who appears to be as good as any team in the tournament, things just didn’t click in the match against Lady Eagles.
Sale Creek coach Debbie Hill was certainly less than pleased as she went outside as soon as the match was over to catch her breath while assistant coaches handled the post-match assessment.
“I just had to get out and get a breath of fresh air as I couldn’t stand it anymore,” the veteran coach said while enjoying a cool, sunny afternoon.
“We played horrible and we were inconsistent the entire match. What we’ve been doing so well in recent weeks just went away today as we didn’t battle and we never fought back when we got behind.
“We’ve been here before and I really don’t know what the problem was, but we basically let one player beat us,” she said in reference to Lily Felts, a powerful 5-11 senior who made life miserable for the Lady Panthers.
“She has a really good supporting cast, but I’m really disappointed in the way we played. There are no excuses, but we just weren’t here to play today,” Hill added.
Abbey Burton had 11 kills and Morgan Weatherford eight digs for Sale Creek. Jayda Perry was credited with 23 assists, but other than those three players, there wasn’t much else to say for Sale Creek’s effort.
The Lady Panthers are now 37-13 and face Loretto in Wednesday's first match. .
SALE CREEK STATS:
Abbey Burton – 11 kills, 5 digs
Madysun Steele – 5 kills
Gracie Janow – 4 kills, 2 blocks
Jayda Perry – 2 digs, 23 assists, 1 ace
Morgan Weatherford – 8 digs
Avery Cox – 1 kill, 5 digs, 1 ace
Allison Smith – 3 digs, 1 ace.
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)