The Signal Mountain and Red Bank volleyball seasons ended Thursday in the TSSAA Class AA state tournament at Murfreresboro.
Signal Mountain eliminated Red Bank 3-2 in serious come-from-behind fashion. But the Lady Eagles then were no match for Hume-Fogg, a 3-0 winner in the match before the losers-bracket final.
The Lady Eagles (35-23) were down 12-7 to Red Bank in the fifth set before scoring eight consecutive points to close it out.
"I'd like to say I know what happened," Signal coach Jennifer Redman said. "All I can say is that they played with heart. It was a great team effort."
Red Bank coach Mandi Munn was equally mystified with what took place.
"We just couldn't close the deal," Munn said. "The fifth set we came out ready to go, got a big lead and couldn't hold it. I don't know if we went into panic mode or Signal was so focused they couldn't be stopped."
Taelor Kellum led the win over the Lionettes with 31 kills and three blocks. Amanda Thielges was the assists leader with 32 and the digs leader with 21. Kellum had five kills, five blocks, 13 digs and two aces in the loss to Hume-Fogg.
Redman said she felt her team reached its full potential by getting fourth place in the state tournament.
"They improved in everything," she said of her players over the course of the season. "Their level of play improved; their mental preparation improved; their love for each other improved. Every aspect improved. I'm extremely proud of this group of girls. Sometimes I don't do a very good job of letting them know how proud of them I am."
Jasmine Simpson topped Red Bank (23-26) in its match with 11 kills, and Dani Usher had six blocks. Hannah Wilson served eight aces and Autumn Babb made 28 digs. Abby Graham was the assists leader with 18 and also had 10 kills, 11 digs and two aces.
"I'm very proud of the improvement they made," Munn said of her players. "Midway through the season we hit a point where we struggled. A lot of people didn't expect us to be here."
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.
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