Going out in style was on the minds of Chelsea Cope, Holly Morgan and Maggie Schaper Tuesday night at Charlie Dalton Gym. The trio of seniors were playing their final regular season volleyball match at home and wanted to go out with a bang.
The three seniors led the Lady Pioneers to a very successful final night. Warren County defeated the Cumberland County Jets in a doubleheader to improve its win total to 30 games.
It is only the second time in the history of the Warren County High School volleyball program a team has reached the 30-win mark. Coach Franklin Fisher attributed much of the success to his solid group of senior leaders.
“On senior night, there is always lots of emotion,” said Fisher. “When the season began, you look on paper and realize you can’t replace the three girls we lost last season.
“Then the season goes along and the next set of seniors step up and provide great leadership and you realize in a team environment, it’s not about the players you lost or the seniors you have but the chemistry they preserve year after year. Chelsea, Holly and Maggie have picked up where others have left off as far as keeping us cohesive.”
Warren County came into the doubleheader on an eight-game winning streak after having won the Lady Pioneer Playday on its home court three days prior.
By the time the Lady Pioneers swept Cumberland County, the streak had moved to 10 and the team clinched a third-place finish in District 6-AAA.
Warren County was quick out of the gates as the team played with excitement. The Lady Pioneers won the first game 25-9, then followed it up with wins of 25-15 and 25-16.
After the first match was in the books, the two teams left the court so coach Fisher could take time to honor his three seniors.
Cope, Morgan and Schaper were presented team-captain plaques as the group shared hugs on the court. Cope and Morgan completed four-year careers with the Lady Pioneers and were varsity contributors for three seasons. Schaper has played three years after transferring to Warren County from Illinois following her freshman year.
The Lady Pioneers weren’t as effective in the second match, but still had enough to get the job done. Warren County won the first game 25-15, then ended the night by winning the final two games 25-22.
There was some hard hitting in the final match on each side. The front-line hitting of Schaper, Caroline McKinley, Megan Dishman and Kaitlin Lawrence kept the Lady Jets off balance most of the game, but the Lady Jets returned the favor as well.
Lawrence found out how hard the Lady Jets’ top spiker could hit when a deflected shot hit the Lady Pioneer junior in the face. Lawrence and the team laughed off the shot and went back to work finishing off Cumberland County.
Lawrence got her revenge when she had back-to-back kills in the final game. She would finish the night third on the Lady Pioneers with 13 kills and tops on the team with four blocks.
Cope was denied the final point of the game when the referees missed a call on the Lady Pioneers’ first match point, but the Lady Jets served the next shot in the net to end the game.
Schaper was effective on senior night, leading the team with five aces and finished second in kills with 16. Morgan was next in aces with four.
McKinley led the Lady Pioneers with 27 kills and added nine assists and four aces. Dishman contributed 11 kills and three blocks. Blair Fisher finished with 44 assists.
Though senior night was the last regular-season home game for the three Lady Pioneers, it won’t be the last time Cope, Morgan and Schaper play at Charlie Dalton Gym.
The District 6-AAA tournament will be held in Warren County beginning on Monday. The Lady Pioneers will be in action on the first night at 7 p.m. when the team takes on White County.
The winner will advance to the tournament championship, where it will most likely face the Cookeville Lady Cavaliers.
Cookeville, which won the regular season with an 8-0 record, awaits the winner of Cumberland County and Coffee County on Tuesday. The Lady Jets and Lady Raiders face off at Charlie Dalton Gym on Monday night at 5 p.m.
The tournament finals are set to be played at 7 p.m. Tuesday night.