“We’ve got a great bunch of girls. We have four seniors that have been with the program four years and done a great job,” praised Lady Wildcat coach Danny Rogers. “We’re a scrappy team that has played teams that were taller and bigger almost every time out.
“We finished 22-5 and were undefeated in the district, both in the season and tournament,” the retired Polk County superintendent of schools stated. “I’ve never been prouder of a team.”
In the region opener, Polk County ran into the Red Bank buzz saw that later in the evening repaid Chattanooga Central for a five-set loss in the District 6-AA championship match, with a five-set victory for the region crown.
The Lionettes fought off the hosts 25-21, 25-16, 25-12, while the Lady Pounders shut out McMinn Central (11-14) 25-10, 25-11, 25-14 to advance to the region title match.
In the title match, Red Bank (21-24) claimed an exciting 25-18, 21-25, 25-23, 22-25, 15-13 victory over Chattanooga Central (28-12), but both teams advance to the TSSAA Sectional play Thursday evening.
Polk County stayed right with the girls from the foot of Signal Mountain in the opening match as the lead changed hands four times and the score was tied eight times.
After falling behind 7-3, the Lady Wildcats fought back to take the lead with a 7-1 run, that included back-to-back aces by Catie Hughes. Red Bank answered with a 4-0 run, but Polk evened things at 13-all with three straight points.
After the score was still knotted at 19-all, the Lionettes made another run, scoring eight of the final 11 points put on the board in the opener.
Red Bank scored the first seven points of the second set, but once again the scrappy Lady Wildcats clawed back into the contest and pulled within three points behind a 4-0 run led by the serving of Emily Bates. The visitors used a 5-1 run to put some distance between the squads and then wrapped up the set with another 5-1 spurt.
After falling behind 3-0 to open the third set, Polk rallied behind the serving of Brittany Rymer for four straight points, but that would be its last lead of the evening. The Lionettes went on a 12-3 run and never looked back, scoring nine of the last 10 points of the match.
“Volleyball is a game of runs and they had more runs than we did,” expressed Coach Rogers. “We had a couple of good runs here and there, but then we’d make a mistake or two and they’d (Red Bank) get the momentum back.
“We started off good in the first set, but then they wore us down as the match went along,” the coach added. “Our girls didn’t quit, but they (Red Bank) were just too much for us tonight.”
Bates finished with 10 digs for Polk, while Rymer collected four kills and dug out four shots. Cecilia Waldroup had a half dozen digs, while Hughes finished with a trio of aces.