Lady Mountaineers dismiss Clinton with alumni watching
By Will Estep | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Heritage celebrated 35 years of volleyball by welcoming former players back on Monday night for the Lady Mountaineers’ match against Clinton. Everything went right for Heritage on what was also senior night as the alumni were treated to a three-set sweep by the Lady Mountaineers.
In a best-of-five match, the Blount County school went out of district play to wrap up the regular season, and the match went downhill early for Clinton as Heritage cruised to a 25-19, 25-15, 25-17 win.
Kelly Wolfe closed out the game for Heritage when she crushed the ball down on the Clinton side for the final point of the match.
“Going out and ending the season on a good note is great for the seniors, but also for our program going into the district tournament,” Heritage coach Lisa Collins said.
Clinton started off the first set with a 7-3 early lead. Heritage then went on a 9-0 run to take a 12-7 lead. Heritage (22-17) senior Katie Miller served on all nine points in the streak, and she finished with 36 assists and 20 points.
“It feels really good,” Miller said. “This is exactly what I wanted to happen in my last game here.”
Another Heritage senior, Brooklyn Howard, started off the first set with a kill and ended the set with a kill. Howard recorded plenty of other kills against Clinton as she finished with a team-high 19.
In the first set, Clinton cut into Heritage’s lead at 21-19, forcing Collins to call timeout. No panic was shown by Heritage and the next four points went their way to win the set.
“They just needed to get refocused, and say, ‘OK lets bear down and finish right now,’” Collins said.
Heritage put the pressure on Clinton by going up two sets with an easy 25-15 second-set win. Throughout the match, all five Heritage seniors contributed in some form. Heritage senior libero Brittany Rop put up nine digs and five kills in her final home match before the District 4-AAA Tournament.
Taylor Dennis recorded five points and four kills while her teammate Mary Allison Capps also had five points to go along with her four digs for the Lady Mountaineers.
“So proud of them,” Collins said of her seniors. “We got five seniors over there and I’m looking at them and had them for all four years. They learn, they grow and develop and go through so much, and in the end the pieces all fit together, and you couldn’t be prouder of them.”
Clinton played tough all game long, but couldn’t overcome Heritage in any set. The Lady Mountaineers closed out the final set with a 25-17 win in front of former players.
“We brought back 35 years of tradition, which we probably should have done a long time ago,” Collins said. “It was so meaningful to see former players after being here for 18 years,”
Heritage enters the District 4-AAA Tournament as the No. 5 seed and will square off against Lenoir City in the first round on Oct. 9.