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Lady Commanders survive gut check against Boyd Buchanan
Oct 27, 2012 12:00 am
To face Lady Bucs again in today's state final
By ANDY REED
MURFREESBORO — A Friendship Christian team not used to gut-check time passed its most difficult test of the season with a possible second straight state championship on the line.
The Lady Commanders outlasted Boyd Buchanan 22-25, 25-16, 25-19, 18-25, 15-11 Thursday afternoon at Blackman to return to today's 2 p.m. Class A championship match at Middle Tennessee State's Murphy Center.
The opponent will again be Boyd Buchanan, which outlasted Grace Christian in another five-set match in the loser's bracket final.
It was the first time since early last season that Friendship lost even a game to a Class A opponent. It's four losses this year [against 56 wins] have come against out-of-state or higher-class teams.
"I believe they were more confident than we were," Lady Commander coach Randy Alley said. "I think we lost our confidence. And we haven't done it. We lost confidence in our passing and confidence in our hitting during that match. That scares me.
"I'm proud that we did come out with it. I was worried about it. And now we get to move on. We'll either be first or second now."
"We definitely did feel the pressure," Kaitlyn Teeter said after posting 27 digs, 23 kills, three aces and two blocks to lead the Lady Commanders. "They didn't have anything to lose, but we had everything to lose because we are the top team here and everybody does want to beat us bad."
The Lady Commanders committed 17 errors in the first game and were trailing 9-6 in the second when Alley had seen enough. During a timeout, he had the starters run sprints across the court, drawing cheers from the portion of the crowd where Boyd Buchanan's fans were sitting.
"When we lost point and we heard the other team cheering against us, immediately we got down on ourselves," Teeter said. "But Coach Randy picked us back up."
"I kept telling them I didn't want to make them run but it was down to the last resort and most of the time, that's it," said Alley, who also employed the tactic following a slow start in last year's State tourney opener against Summertown and a couple of other times this season. "I looked up there and it was mainly our parents that was doing the applauding because they had seen all they can stand. Finally, do something about it. I did look up and saw five or six of the parents standing up and clapping."
Friendship gave its fans something to cheer about over the next game and a half as Teeter served up six straight points and Ali Burroughs closed the game out with seven consecutive. The Lady Commanders scored the first four points of the third game and were never seriously threatened.
But Boyd Buchanan bolted to an 8-3 lead in the fourth game and the Lady Commanders could only get back in front 12-11 and 13-12 afterward. The Lady Buccaneers led the third game as late as 10-9 before falling to the late-afternoon loser's final with a 32-14 mark.
"I really believe we'll see them again," Alley predicted moments after Friendship's match. "They're playing awfully well.
"They had a very good game plan, too."
Today's match will be streamed live at www.TSSAANetwork.com and will be archived for on-demand viewing. It will also be televised on tape-delay at 8 p.m. Saturday on WNPT Channel 8.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952, ext. 17; or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org