CHURCH HILL, Tenn. – Tennessee High didn’t have its full squad in uniform on Monday night, but the Volunteer Falcons certainly had their star in a jersey.
Senior Jersey Wines dominated to the tune of 24 kills and 27 digs as fifth-seeded Volunteer vanquished the shorthanded Vikings 24-26, 25-16, 25-15, 25-18 in the first round of the District 1-AAA tournament.
THS (24-16) was down three starters before the match began and then lost setter Madison Curtin to an injury late in the first game.
“We were already trying to adjust to the other three being out,” said Tennessee High coach Mary C. Johnson. “It’s unfortunate. Like we told the girls, we don’t want to be defined by this last game, but give Volunteer credit.”
Tennessee High had been at 100 percent in eking out a 25-21, 25-21, 27-29, 24-26, 15-9 victory over Volunteer back on Sept. 26. The setback gave the Falcons some confidence in the rematch.
“We took advantage of [Tennessee High not being a full strength],” said Volunteer coach Tennille Green. “Our girls at first – they weren’t nervous, they were just jittery, because they were so jacked up and ready to play tonight. Once they calmed down and reeled themselves in, they were good to go.”
Nobody was as good as Jersey Wines.
“She’s all-around good player,” Green said. “She’s very solid and our clutch player, that’s for sure.”
“Jersey Wines is an unbelievable volleyball player and she hurt us tonight,” Johnson said.
THS senior Kloey Tester collected 18 kills, 14 digs and three aces in her final match for the Vikings, capping a superb season.
Riley McCracken (23 assists, 15 digs), Evie Cozart (15 digs) and Sydney Freeman (10 kills, four blocks) also played well for Tennessee High.
After gutting out the victory in the first game, Tennessee High never got in another groove.
“I’m proud of the ones that embraced the opportunity to play,” Johnson said. “But common sense is going to tell you when you make a lot of change-ups, it’s going to change the dynamics of what’s going on.”
Emma Green (21 digs), Raenah Barton (14 kills) and Rylee Wines (18 assists) made contributions as well for Volunteer, which plays top-seeded Dobyns-Bennett today at 5:30 p.m.
The Falcons had extra incentive since they are hosting the tournament and did not want to be one-and-done in the postseason.
“They wanted to stay here and be playing,” Coach Green said. “Not staying here and be working.”
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