MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — The meeting between Friendship Christian and Boyd-Buchanan in Friday's championship match of the TSSAA Class A state volleyball tournament was their second in two days. And while the result turned out to be the same in one way, it was drastically different in another.
The Lady Buccaneers had pushed the Lady Commanders to the limit in a loss in the winners-bracket final. But Friendship Christian looked more like the dominant team its record shows it is in defeating Boyd-Buchanan 3-0 Friday at Middle Tennessee State University. Set scores were 25-13, 25-11, 25-18.
The title is the second consecutive for Friendship (57-4), now 8-0 in its two state tournaments. The two sets the Lady Bucs took Thursday are they only ones the Lady Commanders have lost during that run.
Second-year Friendship coach Randy Alley said his team looked a lot more relaxed playing in the championship match than it did the day before. He said his group was under control Friday and looked more like the team it had been all season.
Boyd-Buchanan coach Ashley Rose summed it up more succinctly: "They brought it," she said.
The Lady Commanders were sparked by senior Kaitlyn Teeter with 14 kills and junior Alex Sealy with 12. Sealy had six blocks and two others had three each.
"Our game is to hit the ball," Alley said. "We hit it well today and blocked well. Our game is on the net."
After losing 3-2 to Friendship, the Lady Bucs had to play Grace Christian from Knoxville in the losers-bracket final Thursday night. Although they won, it was another 3-2 outcome and Rose said she thought playing that much the day before ultimately caught up with them.
Alley gave his counterpart credit for the job she did having her team prepared.
"They're very good on defense," Alley said. "They rotate well. They know what they're doing. There were times we hit the ball down and you think it's down and they pop it back up."
The third set was clearly Boyd-Buchanan's best in the championship match.
"We couldn't afford to play timid and scared," Rose said. "It took us two games to figure that out. Unfortunately against a good team, that's too late."
Teeter, who has committed to play at Lipscomb University and was chosen the match's most valuable player, was second in digs for Friendship with 13 to Ali Burroughs' 14. Sarah Hall had 32 assists.
Jessica Kirk had a team-high six kills and Mandi Jones had a team-high 20 digs for Boyd-Buchanan (33-15), and they were part of a senior class that played in three state finals. Senior Lindsey Yates, a transfer from Baylor, led the Lady Bucs with 12 assists.
"It's been great," Rose said. "It's been fun. We had a lot of success. We battled through injury, illness, attitude and drama. It's all part of being girls. But we really came together and definitely got to go out up at the top."
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.