Three wins down and now there is only one more to go.
The WCMS volleyball team has been on a mission the last few weeks, knowing it had to win out if it wanted a chance at the Central Tennessee Conference regular season championship. After dominating a doubleheader at home against Franklin South Monday, paired with a home win last week over Franklin North, the Lady Pioneers are now in a position to claim a share of the title.
With another win Thursday over Tullahoma on eighth grade night, Warren County would assure itself at least a tie for the CTC championship. It didn’t seem like it would be possible when the group started 0-3, but the Lady Pioneers are now 7-4 and on a five-game winning streak.
“The girls know how important this week is toward our tournament seeding,” said coach Holly Polombo, who led the Lady Pioneers to a CTC regular season championship last year. “We have talked a lot about setting the pace and tempo of the game. Our goal was to talk and stay behind the ball. Overall, we did a great job with that.”
Warren County swept the four sets Monday, winning the first match 25-23 and 25-14 before dominating the second match 25-11 and 25-13. It took a fortunate break to end the first set, but after that, the Lady Pioneers cruised.
The Lady Pioneers seemed to have trouble settling in early, going back and forth with the Lady Trojans in a race to 25. Warren County never got further than two points ahead most of the match and was clinging to a 24-23 lead when it got a big break.
Franklin South looked like it had tied the set on a knocked down ball at the net, but in the midst of blocking a shot, one Lady Trojan made contact with the net. The Lady Pioneers were awarded the point and claimed the set win, giving them all the momentum.
They never relinquished it.
“Before the second set started, I told the girls, ‘Don’t be comfy. Be aggressive.’ I think the scores reflect their hard work,” said Palombo. “We had great hits, great hustle and great serving. Every girl on the court played hard and never quit.”
Aubrey Oleksik led the way serving, finishing with nine aces. Brynlee Chisam was next with six, followed by Ali Young with five, Alyssa Boyd and Presley Winfree with three and Jenna Mullins with two.
Young and Mullins led the team with five assists apiece, while Oleksik and Boyd each had five kills to top the squad. Sarah Kate Winfree (four kills and two blocks) and Natalie Payne (one kill, one block) also were a force at the net.
Coach Palombo knew when her team started its winning streak with a road win at Coffee County Sept. 1 that a chance to forge a three-way tie for first was possible. The Lady Pioneers have been checking off every box since then and now there is just more win needed to complete an amazing turnaround.
“We have a huge matchup Thursday. It’s the final regular season game to determine if Tullahoma gets first or we finish in a three-way tie (including Coffee County). It’s also eighth-grade night,” said Palombo. “We have a spectacular group of eighth graders and they will leave shoes that are going to be very hard to fill. Jenna, Ali, Aubrey and Alyssa are all vital parts of our success.”
Action Thursday is set to begin at 5 p.m.