Soddy-Daisy unleashed a lethal attack on the net Tuesday, got a combined 37 kills from five front-row maulers and made quick work of visiting Rhea County, 3-0, in a District 6-3A volleyball match at Soddy-Daisy High School.
The Lady Trojans (10-9 overall, 5-2 in district play) wrap up their regular-season schedule on Thursday when they host Warren County at 6:30 p.m.
A win will seal Soddy-Daisy’s No. 2 seed in the district tournament. Cookeville, which beat the Lady Trojans 3-2 and 3-1 during the season, has locked up the No. 1 seed.
“I’m pretty confident we have what it takes to get (Cookeville), Soddy-Daisy coach Libby Peigen said. “Our first match with them was very close and we lost in five sets. The second time around we had a very slow start and weren’t prepared. We won the third set and were 22-22 with them and we let them have it.”
On Tuesday, the Lady Trojans took care of business, disposing of the Lady Golden Eagles in about the same amount of time it took the visitors to drive down Highway 27 from Evensville.
Set scores were 25-11, 25-12 and 25-15.
The Lady Golden Eagles (4-3 in district action) were no match for Soddy-Daisy’s up-front strength, especially against senior Sierrah Lemons, who had 16 of her team’s 30-plus kills.
Lemons, who added two aces and one block, was firing hard-hit missiles at Rhea County and recorded seven kills in the opening set, mainly on well-placed sets by fellow senior Hannah Rogers, who had 32 assists in the match.
Lemons scored three of Soddy-Daisy’s first four points in the second set, all on kills.
“I tried to play smart tonight as to where I placed my shots,” Lemons said. “I wanted to find the holes and go for it. We’re playing good right now; we’re talking, communicating and really hustling.”
Caroline Lemons had nine kills, Kelsey Henderson six, Alyx Howell four and Hope Ingle two. And Rogers was putting sets close to the net and in most cases the hitters were using the opposing side of the court as target practice.
“I did a lot better today than the last few games,” Rogers said. “I used Sierrah a lot more and quickened my sets for better connections than recent games. We have to be quicker than the other team at the net so we can get more kills.”
Said Peigen of the team’s power at the net, “Our front row has been very powerful this year. We’ve got some really big hitters. We’ve had some lulls the last couple weeks, but looked really solid tonight with good connections, good swings and good setting.
“Hannah is a great setter. We talked to her about speeding up things, especially when she’s off the net and our hitters are going at the same pace. Tonight she made sure to get that part done. She knows where to put the ball for us to hit.”
With Soddy-Daisy’s front-row power blasting away, the Lady Golden Eagles failed to find an answer at any point in the match.
“Soddy-Daisy always has a strong team,” Rhea County coach Stephanie Poe said. “A lot of their girls play year-round, so they’ve got a lot more experience than we do.”
It showed from start to finish Tuesday.
The Lady Trojans built a quick 6-1 lead – Lemons had three kills, Carolina Lemons added one, Mikayla Phillips threw in an ace and Rhea had one unforced error in the Set 1 start.
Soddy-Daisy stretched the lead to 14-4 and was comfortably out front, 17-9, when it closed out the set by scoring eight of the final nine points. Sierrah Lemons rocketed four kills and tossed in a well-placed tap in the final spurt. Sydney Seeger had an ace and Rhea was guilty of unforced errors on the final two points.
Lemons had three kills to jump-start the Lady Trojans’ offense in the second set for a quick 5-3 lead. Rhea County made four straight errors, Henderson had a kill and the Lady Eagles’ Shailin Dugger sent a shot into the net to give Soddy-Daisy an 11-3 margin.
The Lady Trojans went on an 8-2 run and were up 19-7 and scored six of the last seven points to take a 2-0 lead in the match. Sierrah Lemons had a kill and tap. Henderson scored twice and Rhea was guilty of two more errors.
In the final set, the Lady Trojans raced to a 6-0 lead – Caroline Lemons scored on two kills, Ingle and the 5-foot-11 Sierrah Lemons had one each before an unforced error by the Lady Eagles their first point. Rhea then played give away with five errors – a Seeger ace broke the string of miscues – and the lead mushroomed to 12-1.
Rhea was able to cut its deficit to 18-13, thanks in large part to four consecutive Lady Trojan misplays. With the lead at 20-15, Caroline Lemons scored three times with two kills and Sierrah Lemons had a block and point-producing tap to close out the match.
“This is probably the first varsity team I’ve been on that had great chemistry and everyone wanted to play for each other,” Rogers said. “We’re working on our winning mentality so that we go out there and start strong and stay strong the whole time.”
The Lady Trojans know they can’t have a letdown against Warren County on Thursday. There’s too much at stake.
“If we win that one, we get the No. 2 seed and that’s good for us because it keeps us away from Cookeville until the tournament championship game.”
Hannah Rogers – 32 assists, 11 digs, 2 aces
Mikayla Phillips – 2 assists, 15 digs, 1 ace
Sierrah Lemons – 16 kills, 1 block, 2 aces
Caroline Lemons – 9 kills, 5 digs
Alyx Howell – 4 kills, 1 block, 2 digs
Hope Ingle – 2 kills, 2 digs
Kelsey Henderson – 6 kills, 4 digs
Sanoe Patterson – 1 assist, 10 digs
Sydney Seeger – 12 digs, 2 assists
Breanna Williams – 2 digs
Allie Lemacks – 1 dig
(Contact Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @larryfleming44)