The Chattanooga Choo Choo tournament has become a road map for the Warren County High School volleyball team. Play well and the Lady Pioneers surge down the stretch. Struggles seem to carry over.
Coming out of the weekend, coach Katie Rogers believes her team has found the right path.
“The weekend was a great learning experience for the girls,” said Rogers, who has been taking part in the tournament for 10 years as a player and coach. “I was extremely impressed with the way we played. We played some really tough teams.
“I was impressed with the maturity of their play and how much they grew up over the weekend.”
Warren County advanced to the semifinals of the silver division, ultimately ending play with a loss to Silverdale. It concluded an actionpacked weekend where the team played eight matches over two days, finishing 3-5.
“The team as a whole played like they had nothing to lose and we saw good results come from it,” said Rogers. “We just have to learn to carry that mentality over to district games. If we can do that, we will be able to get the district wins we need.”
Warren County (8-10) started the weekend with losses Friday to Rhea County (2-1) and Sale Creek (2-0) before bouncing back to topple Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences (2-1).
The Lady Pioneers carried that momentum into a win Saturday morning over Signal Mountain (2-0), though losses followed against Sullivan Central (2-0) and Silverdale (2-1).
Warren County stayed alive in the tournament portion by again beating CSAS before Silverdale, the 15-3 private school located in Chattanooga, proved too tough in the semis. Silverdale went on to beat Sullivan Central to earn the silver bracket championship.
The busy weekend allowed a number of players to rack up major stat lines. Senior Hailey Wood was everywhere for the Lady Pioneers, finishing with a team-high 68 assists while adding 45 digs and five aces. Sophomore Samantha Jennings also showed her all-around game, leading the team with 41 kills and 12 blocks while also adding 53 digs.
Playing in her final Chattanooga Choo Choo, senior Marah Wanamaker added 14 kills and six aces, finishing one behind freshman Danika Reno for the team serving lead.
Madison Hollis again was a top performer defensively, coming in from her libero position to lead the team with 67 digs.
Beth Vaughn also chipped in 19 kills, earning praise from her coach in the process.
“Beth and Megan (Davis) really improved. I was so happy to see them come out of their shell and play like I knew they could,” said Rogers.
Warren County continued its busy stretch with a matchup at home Tuesday with Rhea County. Results were unavailable at press time.
The Lady Pioneers were back in action Tuesday, going on the road for a 6 p.m. matchup with District 6-AAA leader Cookeville.