Facing elimination on Day 1 for just the second time in seven trips to the TSSAA Class AAA state tournament, the Siegel volleyball team eked out a victory in a decisive fifth set, keeping its hopes of a championship alive.
The Lady Stars defeated Collierville 25-20, 22-25, 26-28, 26-24, 15-11 at MTSU’s Murphy Center after being three points from elimination in the match’s fourth set.
“In about the second game I started to get really sacred,” Siegel senior Carlton Gay said. “Then we lost the third game, and I got even more scared. We really buckled down in the fourth set and found a way to win because this team just refuses to lose.
“That could have been my last match and that just wasn’t going to happen. I’m way to emotional right now to have had that be my last volleyball match ever with this incredible team.”
Siegel will play Houston, who lost to Ravenwood in the winner’s bracket semifinals, at 11:30 a.m. today at Siegel High School in an elimination match .
It will be a unique opportunity for the Lady Stars, who will get to play a state tournament match within the confides of their own gymnasium.
“It’s an opportunity for us get one step closer to our goal of a state title,” Gay said.
Blackman and Stewarts Creek High Schools are also hosting state tournament matches today.
Siegel forced the decisive fifth set by winning the final two points of the fourth set after the match was tied 24-24. The Lady Stars trailed 22-20 and 15-11 earlier in the set before earning the comeback win.
The Lady Stars nearly had the third set won too, until the Lady Dragons won the final three points to take a 2-1 lead in the match. Siegel, who entered the state tournament having not lost a set in the postseason, led five different times in the third set but couldn’t maintain the lead through the extra points.
The Lady Stars also lost the second set after having an early lead. Siegel led by as many as six points twice in the second set, before Collierville eventually closed the set on a 12-6 run.
Siegel won the first set by finishing it with a 5-2 run, to take the early lead in the match.
Hannah Poarch finished with a team-high 26 digs, while outside hitter Tori Simmons, who is an MTSU commitment, finished with a team-high 29 kills.
Jill Morgan added 66 assists in the win too.
The winner of the Siegel-Houston match will play the winner of the Farragut-Ooltewah match at 2:30 p.m. at Siegel High in another elimination match.
If Siegel wins each of it’s first two matches today, the Lady Stars will play at 4:30 p.m. at Siegel High in the loser’s bracket final against the loser of the Brentwood-Ravenwood match.
The AAA state championship is scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m. at MTSU’s Murphy Center.
Ooltewah 3, Siegel 1: After winning the first set 25-22 in their opening match, the Siegel lost the next three sets to the Ooltewah to fall into the AAA loser’s bracket by the score of 22-25, 25-23, 25-20, 25-13.
Tori Simmons led Siegel in kills with 17, Jill Morgan finished with 44 assists and Carlton Gay added a team-high 13 digs in the loss.
Coach sighting: MTSU volleyball coach Matt Peck sat behind the Siegel bench during the team’s match against the Lady Owls.
Presumably he was watching Simmons, who has committed to the Lady Raiders’ team as member of the 2015 recruiting class.