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Celebrating success
Lady Pioneers snap losing streak
Photos courtesy of Painted Barn Media Marissa O'Hara was a defensive ace for the Lady Pioneers in Tuesday's big district win.
Photos courtesy of Painted Barn Media Weeks of struggles washed away Tuesday as the Lady Pioneers smashed Shelbyville in straight sets. Pictured celebrating during the big win are, from left, Lydia Netherton, Mia Hobbs, Jessie Young, Aleah Davis, Jaelin Stovall and Ally Beneke.

Developing a winning mentality has been the fight for the Lady Pioneers all season. Perhaps Tuesday’s smackdown of Shelbyville will be the victory that takes the WCHS volleyball team to the next level.

Warren County snapped a nine-game losing streak at home, handling its District 6AAA rival with ease. The Lady Pioneers won in straight sets, 25-20, 25-11 and 25-20 to improve to 2-3 in district matches and 5-10 overall.

“It was definitely a huge team win. We really needed this one,” said coach Erin Blalock, who had watched her team drop five straight over the weekend in the Choo Choo tourney. “We were disappointed when Cannon County had to cancel Monday because we knew we needed to get back out on the court after a tough weekend in Chattanooga. The girls were able to channel their energy and finish it in straight sets.”

The tone was set from the start, with Ally Beneke smashing a big spike on the first point. It sparked a big run from the Lady Pioneers, where they took control and never let up. Emily Davis added a key block during the first set, while senior Lydia Netherton finished off the win with an ace on the final point. 

Aces were a common theme for the Lady Pioneers, who had 12 in the match. Netherton led the way with five, while Mia Hobbs and Jessie Young added two apiece. One of Hobbs’ strongest serves came at the end of the second set where she rifled the ball to the back corner and watched it ricochet off the hands of a Shelbyville defender and fly out of play. 

It was the type of shot Hobbs and the team needed to get back on track.

“I think we all just had to refocus over the weekend and realize that we are a much better team that we had been playing,” said Hobbs about getting a win Tuesday.

Beneke capped off the win with a big block to start the third set, then a thunderous spike that made sure Shelbyville wouldn’t mount a rally late. She finished with a team-high 12 kills and five blocks. 

Hobbs also had an excellent all-around game with 26 digs and six kills, while Young (20 digs) and Marissa O’Hara (18 digs) were key to the team’s serve receive defense. Kennedi Pegg led the way offensive with 18 assists.

“The girls played really well together and played more consistent volleyball. They moved well, communicated well and limited careless errors. It was a great team win and district win,” said Blalock.

Warren County will be back at home at 2 p.m. Friday against Chattanooga Arts and Sciences.