Making the rounds: Blount teams find wins in volleyball stretch run
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (email@example.com)
Maryville got two, Heritage got one and William Blount got one that really mattered to the Lady Govs Tuesday as the District 4-AAA get together sent Lenoir City home as the only without a match victory on this side of the river. WB played host to the pairing that brought district travel partners Maryville and Heritage to Marvin Boring Gymnasium to face the Lady Govs and travel partner LC.
Maryville (5-7 District 4-AAA) started with a three-set rally win over William Blount, 22-25, 25-21, 25-22 and ended with a victory over Lenoir City (25-20, 25-18).
“Getting two wins is exciting and it was important for the morale of the girls,” Maryville coach Nichole Dzikus said.
The Lady Govs took the first game 25-22 as Turner Courtney delivered the final tip over hands reaching for a block. WB kept that enthusiasm in the first of its two rivalry matches, taking leads at 15-8 and 20-14 before the Lady Rebels rallied. Maryville tied it at 20 and 21 before running off the final four points to tie the match. Madison Coulter put Maryville ahead to stay on one of her seven kills on 14 hits. Mary Kate Heppner followed with a block in the middle that stifled a WB rally for the sideout and the match’s momentum began to shift.
The Blount duo were tied at 9-up before Maryville moved to a 21-15 advantage behind Brianna Vargas — 22 assists and six kills — and Elizabeth Keller — 12 hits, five kills. The Lady Govs rallied one last time to 19-21 but Maryville found an answer in wining back-to-back long rallies that saw Nia Haller’s hits dug off the floor with diving efforts and Coulter’s soft bump tap above upraised arms.
“The first time we played William Blount we were very aggressive and had an amazing game and we were just trying to tap into that energy,” Dzikus said. “William Blount’s a good team that’s very technically correct so we had to really work.”
While William Blount was scrapping three sets with Maryville, Heritage was taking a 25-16, 25-13 win over LC. Kat Green recorded nine digs and 10 points while Paige Mize had seven kills in the victory that had Heritage spectating the final game of the opposing match.
Heritage jumped out to leads at 9-4, 13-6 and 16-11 in the first game before WB began to chip away at the edge with solid blocking along the front line. The Lady Govs tied it at 17 and again at 19 taking the lead for good on a block from Haller, who finished with 20 digs and seven kills. Kelsey Hughes put the game away for WB powering a kill through a Lady Mountaineer block. In the second game it was WB who raced out to the lead at 6-2, 17-12 and 21-16 only to see Heritage rally and knot the game at 22. The Lady Govs took the 24-22 edge and the last volley was one to remember. WB’s Kiara Phipps and Heritage’s Savannah Bradburn refused to let a kill go down each with a trio of diving stabs to save the play. What had become an exchange threatening to see which attack would run out of leg first, ended as Courtney went off pace with a little punch over that fell behind the Heritage blockers.
“We wanted two wins tonight. We were doing well against Maryville but we let them take the momentum,” WB coach Tifanny Tipton said. “I told the girls we had to beat Heritage. I wanted it badly, they wanted it really badly. I told them our attitude has to stay up here, our game has to stay up here, our heads have to stay high.
“They kept it going every time it was going back and forth, like volleyball games do. They just kept pushing.”
Heritage’s Savannah Bradburn had 13 digs and four points while Kelley Wolfe had eight kills to go with nine points.
Maryville took the win over Lenoir City, 25-20, 25-18. Savanna Brackin had 16 assists and 10 kills while Coulter had seven kills and 17 assists.
Maryville and Heritage conclude District 4-AAA play Thursday at Heritage with Knox West and Bearden visiting but the round robin pitting the Blount travel partners against each other in the finale.
“The first and last time we travel we switch up and play our travel partner,” Dzikus said. “I think other coaches are better at watching their partner than I am. I’m so focused I have a hard time see what’s going on around us. We’ve seen Heritage in the Blount County tournament and we scrimmage. They’re always over there.”
TKA downs Temple: The King’s Academy defeated Temple 25-23, 25-23, 14-25,25-21. Top scorers for King’s were Callie Greene with 14 points, 6 aces and 2 kills and Lakelin Palmer with 10 points, 5 aces and 10 kills. Top scorers for Temple were Shaylyn Olinger with 22 points and Abigail Houston with 10 points.