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Back to State for Lady Commanders
Oct 20, 2012 12:00 am
Friendship turns back Sale Creek for Alley's 100th FCS win
By ANDY REED
Sale Creek got in an early punch, but Friendship Christian landed the knockout punch to send the defending Class A champions back to the State Tournament with a 25-21, 25-18, 25-18 before a rip-roaring sectional crowd at the Bay Family Sportsplex Thursday night.
The Lady Panthers, who lost to Friendship in last year's State Tournament and less than two weeks ago in the Mid-Tenn Classic, jumped to a 9-3 lead. They also opened the third game with a 7-3 start before the Lady Commanders collected their 53rd win of the season in 57 matches.
"We came out nervous," Lady Commander coach Randy Alley said. "We had the biggest crowd we've had so far, wanting to win. We were just anxious.
"It's kind of like what they said, 'They needed me to come out there and scream and yell at them for a few minutes'. They said, 'Now we know we're back in reality'."
"We were really anxious," Lipscomb-bound Kaitlyn Teeter said after leading the Lady Commanders with 13 kills, 11 digs and six aces. "After we got on the court I knew we would be fine after the first serve, well, after the first couple of points."
Classmate Ali Burroughs totaled 10 kills, five digs and a block, Sarah Hall 34 assists and a block, Alex Sealy 10 kills and three blocks and Sam Finley 10 digs. Morgan Imler, Friendship's third senior who joined Teeter and Burroughs in playing their final volleyball match in Possumtown, finished with five digs.
Now Friendship will await the pairings for the State Tournament which will begin next Wednesday at Middle Tennessee State's Murphy Center in Murfreesboro. The Lady Commanders will look to become the first Wilson County team to win back-to-back state championships in their final Division I season before the school switches to D-II next year.
"At the beginning of the season, we set goals," Alley said. "Our goals were to get to the State Tournament again, to get to the State Tournament with less than double-digit losses and to win two out of the four regular-season tournaments. So far, we've done what we said we were going to do. It's on the board on our locker room. We just keep checking them off."
"I just want to set an example for other teams to show them that a lot of hard work and dedication will pay off in the long run," Burroughs said. "You just got to work hard at what you love and do what you can."
The Lady Commanders are playing with a swagger built on last season's championship and this season's .930 winning percentage.
"They'll look at me every once in a while and say 'Sit down. We've got this'," said Alley, who picked up his 100th win in just his second season against 15 losses. "I haven't seen them get just totally tore up yet."
"We wanted keep our losses to single digits this year because last year we lost to some teams we shouldn't have, but this year we're trying to keep it to a minimum," Teeter said. "Winning the state last year definitely gave us the confidence to win this year."
While the exploits of Teeter and Co. may make fans go "wow", they have an affect on the coaches as well.
"As coaches, we know what they can do," Alley said. "But we go 'wow' when they mess up. What was she thinking? because that's not normal. It's been a great group to watch. It's been fun sitting there watching them perform."
Lady Bears run into Brentwood buzzsaw
BRENTWOOD — Mt. Juliet ran into a legendary Brentwood program in the midst of a renaissance season Thursday night as the Lady Bears were ousted from a Class AAA sectional 25-15, 25-14, 25-15.
District 9-AAA Most Valuable Player Ryann Amity led the Lady Bears with eight digs, seven kills and three blocks while setter Halle Raines set up 16 assists. Both are juniors.
"I have my core players back next year," Mt. Juliet coach Jennifer Wilson said after her Lady Bears concluded a 33-9 season.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952, ext. 17; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org