Chattanooga Christian's volleyball team spoiled Notre Dame's party Thursday, but the Lady Chargers seemed to be having a nice one of their own.
The Lady Irish came to CCS with a chance to be the outright District 7-AA high school regular-season champions. The Lady Chargers were out of contention for the top seeding in the district tournament and played like a team feeling no pressure.
CCS's 3-0 victory over Notre Dame created a three-way tie at 8-2 at the top of the league standings. Through the district's tiebreaking procedures, Signal Mountain comes away with the top seeding for the tournament, CCS is second and Notre Dame is third.
The district tournament begins Monday with higher-seeded teams hosting. Semifinals and the championship match will be Tuesday at Signal Mountain.
CCS coach Brian Wood said although the No. 2 seeding was the best the Lady Chargers could achieve, he wanted to see them head to the district tournament on a positive note. Set scores were 25-20, 25-23, 25-20.
"I talked to the team before the match and told them we had to make a statement that our district started tonight," Wood said.
The Lady Chargers looked at an 8-5 deficit in the first set and got down as much as 14-8 in the second. The Lady Irish scored the first four points of the third set, and their third and final four-point lead was 12-8.
Wood said he was proud of his players for keeping their composure after falling behind each time. He credited the "two-second" policy he put in place about a week ago.
"The first second you think about the mistake that just happened," Wood said. "The second second you let it go.
"I should've used it all season."
Notre Dame coach Ted Hackett said the pressure of the moment may have gotten to his players.
"Our team overall is quite young," Hackett said. "We have a lot of sophomores out there. That's a good team. We didn't execute and they executed a few more times than we did.
"Now we've just got to reset and go on to the matches in the district tournament."
The Lady Chargers' crowd -- energized by the student section -- made its presence felt throughout the match. Hackett said he wasn't sure if that hampered his team but added, "It certainly helped them stay on top."
Erin Jackson led the net play for CCS (22-19) with eight kills and five blocks. Taylor Youell had 26 assists and served six aces.
Stephanie Bouchard's 10 kills paced Notre Dame (12-19). Kayle Stone, who had nine kills, and Tess Scobey led with three blocks each. Ragen Dobson had 24 assists and Danika Dorris led with 13 digs.
Contact Kelley Smiddie at email@example.com or 423-757-6653. Follow him at twitter.com/KelleySmiddie.
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.