Baylor Advances To State Final; Sale Creek Ousted

Baylor To Face Briarcrest In Repeat Of 2016 Finals

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - by John Hunt
Baylor advanced to the DII-AA volleyball finals Wednesday in Murfreesboro, Tenn. with a strong 3-1 win over Brentwood Academy. Key in that victory for the Lady Raiders was Zoe Ubamadu, shown in an earlier match, with 11 kills and 8 blocks. Baylor now faces Briarcrest for the championship Thursday morning at MTSU's Murphy Center at 11:30 EST.
Baylor advanced to the DII-AA volleyball finals Wednesday in Murfreesboro, Tenn. with a strong 3-1 win over Brentwood Academy. Key in that victory for the Lady Raiders was Zoe Ubamadu, shown in an earlier match, with 11 kills and 8 blocks. Baylor now faces Briarcrest for the championship Thursday morning at MTSU's Murphy Center at 11:30 EST.
- photo by Dennis Norwood/File Photo

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The Baylor Lady Red Raiders are one win away from another D-II Class AA state volleyball championship.

Facing the Brentwood Academy Lady Eagles for the third time this season here at Blackman High School Wednesday morning in the winner’s bracket final, Baylor was able to advance by winning in four sets, but it was a battle for the ages where two really good teams battled for every point like their lives depended on it.

Baylor won the first set by a nail-biting 30-28 final and that basically set the tone for the rest of the match.

The Lady Red Raiders then won the second set by a more normal 25-17 before the Lady Eagles rallied with a 25-20 win in the third.  Certainly not wanting to let the match get any closer, Baylor finally pulled out the fourth set by a 25-23 final to advance to Thursday’s championship match against Briarcrest, a 3-2 winner over Brentwood Academy late Wednesday afternoon.

Thursday's final will be a repeat of last year's D-II Class AA match, which was won by Briarcrest.

Baylor coach Sarah Lail stayed up late Tuesday night figuring her team’s best options that would give them its best shot for advancing.  She must have made the right decisions.

“We knew it would an incredible battle with them as it always is, but I’m mentally and emotionally drained after that match,” Lail said, her adrenalin still flowing fast shortly after the match ended.

“We wanted to be in the best position to win and that’s why I stayed up so late last night.  Both teams have great offenses and we both had outstanding moments, but it was all about heart and desire today.  I’m so glad we don’t have to play another match today, but this is a good position for us to be in.  Hopefully, we can relax and get some rest now that’s over.

“I really felt like we played well today, but we can always play better.  That’s what I’m hoping for in tomorrow’s match,” she concluded.

The first set was by far the most intense of the four.

The Lady Eagles were down on several occasions, but simply refused to give up.  Baylor had led most of the way until late when Brentwood Academy gained the upper hand, but just like their opponent, Baylor refused to throw in the white towel.

The Lady Eagles scored the first point, but never led again until the end.

A kill from Gracie Petersen allowed Brentwood to knot the score at 24-24 and the score was tied four more times in that set alone before Baylor pulled it out on back-to-back kills by Zoe Ubamadu.

Baylor bolted to a 5-0 lead in the second set as Denver Rogers got the first with a kill and then four straight service points.  The Lady Eagles never led in this one as Baylor’s biggest lead came at 22-12.  The winning point came a minute or so later on a Lady Eagle service error.

The Baylor girls were hoping in the back of their minds that Brentwood Academy would simply roll over in the third set, but the Lady Eagles had other ideas.

Baylor scored four of the first five points and looked good doing it, but the Lady Eagles came storming back and led for the first time at 5-4 on a block from Claire Smith. 

The score was tied seven more times before the Lady Eagles pulled ahead for the final time at 18-17 on a kill from Anna Perry.  Baylor got within 22-20 before Brentwood closed it out with a kill from Ellie Petersen, an ace from Maddy Williams and the final point on a block from Petersen.

Brentwood bolted to a 7-2 lead in the fourth set before Baylor rallied to knot the score at 8-8.  The Lady Red Raiders had the upper hand until a hitting error allowed Brentwood to knot the score at 23.  Lail called her final timeout and the message came across loud and clear as Ubamadu had her 11th kill to give her team the lead before finishing the match with her sixth block.

Rogers and Craig both had 14 kills to lead the Baylor hitters while Elizabeth Case had five of Baylor’s 10 aces.  Rogers also had 10 digs while Hayden Barton was next with nine.  Sarah Sumida finished the match with 55 assists.

SALE CREEK DIDN’T fare as well as they lost a 3-2 heartbreaker to Loretto in the Class A loser’s bracket match at Siegel.

Finishing another outstanding season at 37-14, the Lady Panthers had a lead in the fourth and fifth sets, but simply couldn’t close the door on the Lady Mustangs.

“I thought we stepped up and played well for the most part.  We had control in the fifth set, but played a little soft and let them get back in it,” said Sale Creek coach Debbie Hill afterward.

“We really needed to win that fourth set and had a lead them too, but just couldn’t hold on.  They did a good job on serve receive and they were consistent across the board.  We just had letdowns at the worst possible times.  They picked up the momentum and didn’t let go,” Hill concluded before hitting the interstate and heading home.

Abbey Burton made her final match for the Lady Panthers a great one as she finished with 20 kills and 19 digs.  Madysun Steele was also outstanding as the blonde junior followed with 18 kills and 17 digs.

Jayda Perry had 50 assists while Sydney Gibson ended the match with four blocks.

BAYLOR STATS VS. BRENTWOOD ACADEMY:

Sarah Barker – 4 kills, 1 block

Elizabeth Case – 5 aces, 8 digs

Sarah Sumida – 1 ace, 4 kills, 3 blocks, 55 assists, 6 digs

Hayden Barton – 3 aces, 9 digs

Zoe Ubamadu – 11 kills, 6 blocks

Ally Craig – 14 kills, 3 blocks, 7 digs

Laura Kate May – 1 ace, 8 digs

Denver Rogers – 14 kills, 10 digs

Lexie Laurendine – 8 kills.

SALE CREEK STATS VS. LORETTO:

Abbey Burton – 20 kills, 19 digs, 1 ace, 1 block

Madysun Steele – 18 kills, 17 digs, 3 blocks, 2 aces

Gracie Janow – 14 kills, 3 digs, 1 block

Jayda Perry – 50 assists, 11 digs, 2 aces

Morgan Weatherford – 11 digs, 1 ace

Avery Cox – 16 digs

Sydney Gibson – 1 kill, 3 digs, 4 blocks

Allison Smith – 9 digs, 1 ace, 1 assist

Emilee White – 1 dig.

(email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@gmail.com)


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