CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Riding an eight game winning streak, the Cleveland volleyball team came into Tuesday's match with McMinn County looking to make it nine in a row. Three sets and a Senior Night celebration later, the Lady Raiders remained perfect in District 5-3A with a sweep of the Lady Cherokees.
Set scores were 25-7, 25-7, 25-14.
The Lady Raiders, ranked as the Maxpreps No. 4 team in the state, have been on a roll as of late and won the championship at last weekend's Border Battle in Murfreesboro.
Lady Raiders head coach Amy McGowan was not impressed with the news of the ranking.
“I don't think we're the No. 4 team in the state,” she stated flatly. “We've played better (lately) but, I'm not satisfied.”
She was, however, pleased with the tournament win although reaching the championship game came as a bit os a surprise.
“We played some good teams. We just kind of grounded it out. I felt we kind of snuck up into the finals. I didn't even know we were in the finals,” said McGowan. “We played and just focused on each set and things in that set and didn't look toward future games. We did better than we have been.”
The Lady Raiders play a final district match Thursday against Rhea County.
Cleveland sailed through the first two sets allowing the Lady Cherokees points on Lady Raider errors.
Kinslee McGowan, Lily O'Bryan, Lauren Hurst and Addison Brock all served up aces in the win while Hurst, McGowan, Gunny Brock, Audra Capps and O'Bryan scored kills.
Brock, Hurst and Lexi Gash sent aces over the net in set two while O'Bryan, Taylor Michaelis, Hurst and Brock smashed kill shots to the hardwood. O'Bryan and McGowan added blocks for the Lady Raiders.
“In games like that this year we've been struggling with that, not being able to put people away. But, we've done that the last few games we've played,” McGowan said.
The final set of the night saw a bit of a different look from the Lady Raiders as McGowan changed out the faces on the front row. The Lady Cherokees took advantage of the change and turned an 8-3 Cleveland lead into an 8-8 tie before Cleveland finally took charge with kills by Addison Brock and Gunny Brock. Gash added an ace in the five point run that put the Lady Raiders out front 15-9.
Back-to-back kills from Gunny Brock made it a 17-10 game. Cleveland rolled to a 23-11 lead with five of the next six points and after kills by McGowan Hurst picked up the final point of the night on a McMinn ball out of bounds.
“I thought we took care of business except for the last set. I switched the lineup around, and I don't like to do that, because some people wanted to play front row,” said McGowan.