Heritage survives, advances over WB
By Will Estep | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
KNOXVILLE — Three Blount County teams came into the District 4-AAA volleyball tournament on Tuesday night and only one survived to see another night.
Maryville lost in the first round to Knox. West and William Blount fell in a tough match to rival Heritage in the quarterfinals of the tournament. Fifth seeded Heritage advanced to the quarterfinals by beating Lenoir City in the first round at Catholic High School.
That set up the match between William Blount, who received a bye as the No. 4 seed, and the Lady Mountaineers. In a match full of comebacks, Heritage took the match 25-20, 25-13, 14-25, 22-25, 16-14.
“They (Heritage players) wanted it bad,” said Heritage coach Lisa Collins.
Heritage took the first set 25-20 over William Blount after trailing the opening set 14-10. The second set also went the Lady Mountaineers way, keeping the momentum rolling from the first set and picking up a second set win 25-13.
The Lady Mountaineers were helped out in the match by Katie Miller who had 39 assists and 10 digs. Her senior teammate, Taylor Dennis, finished with 16 points and seven digs.
William Blount wouldn’t go away as the Lady Govs had valuable efforts from their seniors whose high school careers came to an end with the loss. Five Lady Govs played in their last match against Heritage, but it could have ended sooner if not for a hard fought comeback.
The third set was won by William Blount easily with a 25-14 win. Lexi Sadler and Christine Hobbs, both seniors, helped lead the comeback as did junior Turner Courtney.
Saddler had 11 kills, eight blocks and four digs in the losing effort. Hobbs 16 kills, 11 service points, 18 digs, two blocks and two aces.
“William Blount is a fantastic team,” Collins said. “We knew it would be a dogfight. We did get on them, but volleyball is such a momentum sport that if you don’t take care of business a good team will come back, and we knew it was going to be a dogfight.”
After William Blount (23-12) forced a fifth and final set to determine who would move on to play No. 1 seed Bearden Wednesday, Heritage made a comeback of its own to secure the win.
Leading 14-11 in the fifth set, William Blount only needed one more point to secure the match. That’s when Heritage stepped up and wrestled the lead away going on a 5-0 run to end the set and pick up a 16-14 win as Lady Mountaineer senior Brooklyn Howard closed out the match with a kill. Howard finished with 23 kills and six blocks in the match against William Blount.
“It’s their dream to move on, and right now we are moving on,” Collins said.
As for Maryville, their season came to an end as they played a grueling five-set match against Knox. West. Maryville took a 2-1 set lead, but faltered down the stretch in the final two sets. West took the fifth and final set by just two points at 15-13.
“They just made fewer errors than we did,” Maryville coach Nichole Dzikus said.
Maryville sophomore Lauren Jones finished with 19 kills and 20 assists and her teammate Yukino Murakawa recorded 12 points and 12 digs.
Heritage returns to play Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Catholic High School against Bearden.