Boyd-Buchanan's volleyball players must've known the pressure-cooker situation they could've found themselves in Tuesday at Arts & Sciences in the District 5-A title match.
After all, they had stayed around Monday after winning their semifinal and watched as the host team fed off the emotion of a loud home crowd in upsetting Silverdale Baptist.
Whether they were or not, the top-seeded Lady Bucs couldn't have looked much more at ease in disposing of the Lady Patriots 3-0. Game scores were 28-26, 25-21, 25-17.
Both teams advance to the Region 3 tournament Tuesday at Sale Creek, where Boyd-Buchanan (22-22) will face Lookout Valley (14-9) and CSAS (13-11) will play Sale Creek (44-12). The winners will play afterward for the region championship.
Boyd-Buchanan coach Ashley Scott admitted most of the note-taking she did Monday was on Silverdale, the team with which the Lady Bucs shared the regular-season championship. Despite having to scrap most of her scouting report, Scott said she thought the players staying, watching and seeing what happened in that environment alleviated some stress.
"Today I told the girls they were going to have to be ready to play defense, ready to block and ready to get blocked," Scott said. "I told them, 'You've got to put your head into it.' We were unbelievably focused, mature and poised."
The Lady Bucs got out 9-3 in the first game, then withstood a Lady Patriots rally. The Lady Seahawks got off to an 11-1 start Monday against CSAS and also won the first game, but ended up losing in five sets.
"I was worried things would go one of two ways," CSAS coach Brandon Lowry said. "I figured we'd come out and play really well, or we'd have a big letdown. We had a mental letdown. We were in the wrong position a lot of the night. It was like we were in a fog, maybe because we were coming off a big win. It looked like we had spent all our energy.
"Our heels were on the ground tonight. You can't play volleyball with your heels on the ground."
Taylor Wolfe was the catalyst for Boyd-Buchanan, which won its fourth consecutive district tournament. Her 11 kills against CSAS backed the 12 she had in the semifinal against Grace Academy, and the coaches voted her the tournament's most valuable player.
Scott said a lot was expected from Wolfe from the start of the season, and the senior battled some inconsistencies throughout the year. But she showed no signs of inconsistency the last two days.
"Her good is very good," Scott said. "When she plays well, it's easy for the rest of us to feed off that. It's very contagious."
Kristen Reynolds set 30 assists and also paced the Lady Bucs with seven aces. Maddy Howard and Jessica Kirk each had 11 digs.
The Lady Patriots, who earned a region berth for the second time in Lowry's 10 seasons as coach, were led at the net by Briana Wesley with six kills and three blocks. CiCi Strickland led in digs with 14, and Brittany Patmon led in assists with 11.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.