Both Ooltewah and Cleveland proved Tuesday at Ooltewah that how a team plays in its previous outing has nothing to do with how it will play the next time out.
Coach Elaine Peigen was concerned with her Lady Owls’ rough outing over the weekend in the Middle Tennessee Classic high school volleyball tournament in Franklin, where Cleveland’s Lady Raiders had a big Saturday and advanced to the Silver championship match.
But Ooltewah looked like the team that went unbeaten through the District 5-AAA regular season in defeating Cleveland 3-0 in one of the district-tournament semifinals. Set scores were 25-15, 25-21, 25-23.
Soddy-Daisy beat East Hamilton 3-1 in the other semfinal. Set scores were 25-21, 25-22, 15-25, 25-23.
Second-seeded Soddy-Daisy (41-16) and top-seeded Ooltewah (39-10) will play in the championship match today at 6 p.m. The winner will host the Region 3 tournament with semifinals Monday and the final Tuesday.
Coming off the Classic, Cleveland (21-22) was able to get past Bradley Central in Monday’s first round in the district tournament, although it took five sets. As for Ooltewah, Peigen was hoping her players just needed getting a sluggish effort out of their systems.
“That was the first time we had not looked polished all year,” Peigen said.
But not so Tuesday when the Lady Owls opened a 7-1 lead in the first set and took the lead for good at 15-14 in the second.
The Lady Raiders, who were led by Marissa Langford’s 15 kills, had a 12-7 lead in the third before Ooltewah battled back.
“We played well the first two games,” Peigen said. “Our serve reception wasn’t the greatest in that last set. Cleveland has a good team. It’s always hard to stop Marissa. We still have a lot of stuff to work on.”
Courtlyn Ison led the Lady Owls up front with 16 kills and three blocks. Josie Cain had 19 digs and Hanna Matthews set 35 assists.
Eva Wilhelm had 23 digs and Kellee Geren had 23 assists for the Lady Raiders.
Soddy-Daisy coach Lorri Johnson was pleased her team’s effort against East Hamilton (25-17), particularly the serving.
“We served super well,” Johnson said. “We were 84-out-of-87 serving, and we were still aggressive with it.
“Overall it was probably one of the best matches we’ve played, start to finish. We had one letup in game three at the beginning of the game; then we fought hard to get some momentum back. We stayed ahead the whole game in game four, but they made a comeback at the end. The main thing is we got it done.”
Johnson praised Lauren Smith, who came out for a while after getting a hard shot to the head with the ball. Overall she led the Lady Trojans with 30 digs and 13 kills. Haley Reynolds totaled seven blocks, Karigan Fulghum served three aces and Chloe Mitchell had 29 assists.
Emma Lenoir paced the Lady Hurricanes with 28 kills and Sydney Harris had 30 assists. Kris Joo led in digs with 28 and aces with five.
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.