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Warren County wins in District 6-AAA tournament
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Monday’s volleyball match between the Lady Pioneers and Warriorettes featured an electrifying crowd, a furious comeback and a thrilling finish.
In the end, it was Warren County coming out on top in the semifinal match of the District 6-AAA tournament. The win sends the Lady Pioneers to their second straight regional tournament and gives the team 32 victories.
The Lady Pioneers needed five sets to defeat White County. Coach Franklin Fisher saw his team change over the course of the night, but was happy to win.
“We came out charged and won two sets, then played not to lose for two sets,” said Fisher. “We went back to playing hard in the final game.
“White County is the best defensive team we play. This win was huge and ensures us a spot in the regionals.”
Warren County was the one celebrating after the match, but there were many moments when the Lady Pioneers looked like they might be playing their final match of the 2011 season.
In a win-or-go-home atmosphere, Warren County won the first two sets 25-15 and 25-17 before dropping the next two games 25-22 and 25-19.
The Lady Pioneers were on a roll through two sets. Behind the solid serving of seniors Holly Morgan and Maggie Schaper, Warren County made quick work of the Warriorettes.
The third game started off in the Lady Pioneers’ favor and had the feel of White County surrendering, but one play changed the course of the match.
Caroline McKinley went up for a big spike against the Warriorettes to give Warren County an early three-point advantage, but White County would be the one who would earn the point.
McKinley’s spike sailed toward the White County side. One Warriorette stuck out her arm to dig the hard shot from McKinley. McKinley’s shot was hit so hard, it ricocheted off the Warriorette and bounced all the way back to Warren County’s side and landed in for a point.
White County used the fortunate bounce to steal momentum and win the third game. The Warriorettes got another fortunate play in the fourth game to force a fifth and final set.
With the fourth game tied at 19, the Lady Pioneers were just six points away from winning the match. The play was back and forth as neither team could gain an advantage at the net.
Warren County caught a break when an errant set was played toward the net. Junior Kaitlin Lawrence used the miss hit to jump up and tap the ball down for a Lady Pioneer point.
Lawrence however was called for touching the ball across the net and the point was reversed. The Warriorettes ran off five straight points as the call seemed to dishearten the Lady Pioneers.
The final set, which is played to 15, started off well for Warren County. The Lady Pioneers scored five of the first six points, including getting a block from McKinley for a point and Megan Dishman serving an ace.
Leading 5-1, the Lady Pioneers had to hang on to win. The action was frantic at times, with each team making a number of diving saves to keep the ball in play.
After White County closed the gap to 10-7 midway through the fifth set, Schaper and Blair Fisher combined to make a brilliant play.
The Warriorettes had a chance to make it a two-point game on a spike, one which was hit low and deep in the Warren County zone. Schaper was the only Lady Pioneer in the area and the senior dove to the ground and popped the ball toward the net.
Fisher tracked the ball down and had to jump backwards to hit the ball over as she fell to the ground. The shot fell just inside the line, giving Warren County a huge point.
Two more spikes by McKinley, along with a point from Chelsea Cope on a serve, brought the Lady Pioneers within one point of closing out White County.
Leading 14-12, Fisher tried twice to set Schaper for a spike to win. White County blocked both attempts, leaving Fisher to switch her strategy.
The third time the ball was played over and Fisher had a chance to make a final pass, the junior setter looked toward Schaper again, but the lobbed the ball back toward the middle.
Dishman came flying in and drilled a spike straight through the White County defense for the match-winning point.
With the win, the Lady Pioneers moved to the finals of the District 6-AAA tournament held at Charlie Dalton Gym. The finals were played last night when Warren County faced Cookeville. Results weren’t available at press time.
Check in Friday’s issue of the Southern Standard for a full recap of the tournament finals.