New coach. Same result.
Siegel quickly clinched a berth in its sixth straight District 7-AAA volleyball championship game Wednesday night at La Vergne High. Siegel swept Smyrna 3-0 in a match that lasted a little over an hour, winning 25-12, 25-20, 25-9.
The championship appearance came in coach Laura Pierce’s first season.
“This is my first final,” said Pierce, a Colorado native and former Tennessee Tech player. “This is my first everything with this team.”
Siegel (25-11) plays Blackman at 7 p.m. today in the district championship. Blackman upset second-seed Riverdale 3-2 in the second semifinal match.
It marks Blackman’s first trip to the district title game since 2003 when the Lady Blaze finished state runner-up. Both Blackman and Siegel clinched berths in next week’s Region 4-AAA tournament by reaching the district final.
“It’s exciting to live up to what Siegel is known for,” Siegel senior Jaquelyn Leeman said.
Smyrna, which upset Oakland in five games on Tuesday, challenged the Lady Stars in the second game. A Siegel error helped the Lady Bulldogs cut a Siegel lead to 22-20. But Siegel forced a sideout and Leeman had an ace. Amanda Worrell finished the game with a kill.
“That could have been a game changer if we could have gotten (Game 2),” Smyrna first-year coach Christy Plecha said. “We just didn’t have it tonight.”
Jayla Raynor led Smyrna with five kills. Setter Leah Thurmon had 21 assists and three blocks for the Lady Bulldogs.
Blackman 3, Riverdale 2: Alex Johnson’s kill ended a marathon match between the two rival schools and gave the Lady Blaze their first win in three attempts against the Lady Warriors this season.
Riverdale beat Blackman in three games in the two previous matches. But the Lady Blaze won when it counted, winning 25-23, 16-25, 25-20, 13-25, 15-12.
“It felt really good to win,” said Johnson, who had four kills and three blocks. “We came out here not to lose. We had to play for our teammate that was injured (Stephanie Gurzi).”
Gurzi, a starter at rightside, tore her ACL this past week. She was at courtside in a wheelchair supporting the Lady Blaze.
Alexis Boudavong led Blackman with 13 kills. Santana Alejandro added 12. Danielle Ged had six blocks.
Johnson said the Lady Blaze came out energized and it showed right away.
“The first two times (we played) we worked together, but we didn’t have energy. We knew we had to do this together.”