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Volleyball season ends for WCHS
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The Lady Pioneers weren’t simply happy to be there when the Warren County High School volleyball team arrived in Soddy Daisy Monday for the regional tournament.
For the second straight season, the Lady Pioneers advanced to the regionals and this year the team was looking to earn the respect of the Lady Trojans.
Warren County gave Soddy Daisy, which has won four state championships in the past decade, all it wanted on its home court before succumbing in straight sets 25-21, 25-15 and 25-18.
Last season was the first time the Lady Pioneers had advanced to the regionals in the 17-year tenure of coach Franklin Fisher. Soddy Daisy squashed Warren County in the regionals as the Lady Pioneers didn’t adapt quickly to the big stage.
This season, Warren County walked into the Lady Trojans gym ready to fight to the very end. For coach Fisher, it was all he could ask from a team that won 32 games this season.
“There was no quit in our team,” said Fisher. “They fought for every point. We were diving, making hustle plays and doing everything we could to win.”
As if the chip on the Lady Pioneers’ shoulders wasn’t big enough when the team arrived, it was made worse when the announcers referred to Warren County as the Lady Wildcats.
Behind the strong play of Caroline McKinley in the first game, Warren County made sure Soddy Daisy knew who the Lady Pioneers were.
McKinley blocked two of the first three spikes by the Lady Trojans as Warren County jumped out to a 5-0 advantage.
Warren County would increase the lead to 8-2 after Kaitlin Lawrence blasted a spike through two defenders to an open spot on the court. The big kill prompted Soddy Daisy’s coach to call a time-out as the Lady Pioneers celebrated the fast start.
The time-out seemed to settle the Lady Trojans as the home team came out and scored nine of the next 14 points.
Still leading 13-11, defensive specialist Karaline Deaton gave the Lady Pioneers a spark off the bench. With action frantically happening at the net, Soddy Daisy looked to gain the upper hand when their top hitter drilled a spike through the heart of the Lady Pioneer defense.
Just as the ball looked like it would land, Deaton dived to the floor to make the dig. Warren County ended up getting the point, prompting another huge celebration.
Soddy Daisy clawed its way back into the first game, eventually tying the game at 19. The Lady Pioneers tried everything they could to hold onto the lead, but Soddy Daisy tallied six of the last eight points to earn the first-game victory.
The close loss seemed to hang with Warren County at the start of the second game. The Lady Pioneers fell behind 12-6 early and forced coach Fisher to take a time-out.
Following the break, the Lady Pioneers made a personnel switch which worked wonders. Lawrence went back to serve, something the junior rarely has done this season.
The move worked as Lawrence knocked in back-to-back aces, then served four more points to tie the game at 12.
The rally didn’t last long for Warren County though. Soddy Daisy came back with a furious rally of its own, scoring 10 straight points at one point to end the game 25-15.
Knowing the end of the season could be in sight, the Lady Pioneers gave their best effort in the final game.
Megan Dishman had three big kills in the third set, Blair Fisher had a pair of precision shots which earned points and seniors Holly Morgan, Chelsea Cope and Maggie Schaper all had aces in the final game.
Ultimately though, the Lady Pioneers didn’t have enough firepower to upset the top-seeded Lady Trojans.
Though the loss ended the second-most successful season in program history, coach Fisher thought his team had no reason to hang their heads following the loss.
“We came into the season wanting to win more than we lost, so it that aspect the team did exceptional,” said Fisher. “Our three seniors stepped up and provided cohesiveness to the team.
“It was a really fun season. Against Soddy Daisy, the girls were laughing and having fun. They’re a great group.”
The Lady Pioneers finished two wins shy of the single-season record, ending the season at 32-14.