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High School Volleyball

State Volleyball: Nolensville showcases balance in second round win

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State Volleyball – Nolensville vs. Crockett County .

Caymin Ladd, No. 5, and Sydney Bloedorn, No. 8, celebrate a block late in Wednesday's Nolensville win over Crockett County in the Class AA state volleyball tournament.

See IMAGES for full photo gallery from the match. 

MURFREESBORO – Balance has been one of the biggest strengths for the Nolensville High School volleyball team all season and that’s proved tough for the first two Class AA state tournament opponents to handle.

The Lady Knights have swept past consecutive opponents Tuesday and Wednesday to move into the championship semifinals on their quest to repeat as champs in just their second appearance on the state stage.

“We’ve really got five hitters in the lineup at any given time,” Nolensville coach Brett Young said. “Any of them can take over the game at any time and when you have setters that appreciate the fact that they can spread the ball around and use that misdirection, teams have trouble defending against us.”

Nolensville opened the state tournament with a 25-8, 25-8, 25-17 over Signal Mountain on Tuesday. They handed Crockett County just its second loss of the year on Wednesday with a 25-12, 25-10, 25-14 victory.

The Lady Knights will play Anderson County at 2:30 p.m. at Blackman High School with the winner advancing to the state championship match.

“We just have to keep playing our game,” said Nolensville senior Jazmyn Jenkins, who collected nine kills Wednesday. “Whenever we work as a team and show our strength to be so tough from so many different directions, it always pays off.”

“I think honestly, we are just excited to be here and have the opportunity to finish what we started,” added fellow senior and middle Caymin Ladd. “We’re just very blessed to be here as a team and are trying to get the most out of every single moment.”

Jenkins and Ladd combined for seven blocks Tuesday. Both had their moments as high-flying hitters Wednesday as well against an undersized Crockett County team. Maggie Rickert added nine kills for Nolensville, while Avery Young tacked on six more.

Lauren Starcke anchored the defense with 24 digs and Charley Fulton had another all-around performance with five kills, nine digs and three aces in the second-round win.

Jenkins provided an early exclamation point as the two teams felt one another out in the opening set. The senior elevated on the right side and smashed a kill through the Crockett County block for a 9-5 advantage and a fourth straight Lady Knights point. That lead eventually stretched to six at 14-8 on a Fulton kill and never dipped lower the rest of the way.

Avery Patton set 16 assists Wednesday and Caroline Johnston added 11 more. Patton, a senior, said her confidence in all her hitters carries through in the Nolensville offense.

“Whenever somebody is on, I will keep feeding them the ball, but I always know that I have other options and that gives me a lot of confidence,” Patton said. “I’m never concerned about where to place it.”

She flipped a high ball over her head as Jenkins slid around her on a sweep to the right pin for the final kill of the first set. Nolensville cruised in the second with Rickert and Young providing much of the damage, while Jenkins reemerged in the third as primary hitter early. Nolensville scored the first six points in the third and stayed in control the whole way through.

“We had some great rotations today and both Jazmyn and Caymin played great,” coach Young said. “We’re excited to be here. Winning these first two gives you a bit of breathing room and we want to keep on rolling.”

The winner of Thursday’s championship semifinal at Blackman High School will advance to Friday’s championship match at 1 p.m. at Siegel High School. The loser of Thursday’s match will play again later that night in the consolation final for a second shot at reaching the championship.

Anderson County advanced in the double elimination tournament with a three-set sweep of Greeneville on Tuesday and a narrow 22-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-23 win over Murfreesboro Central Wednesday.

2020 Class AA State Volleyball Tournament

All matches at Blackman High School

Thursday’s Schedule

9:30 a.m. – Crockett County (29-2) vs. Greeneville (27-6), loser out

12 p.m. – Murfreesboro Central (29-12) vs. East Hamilton (18-12), loser out

2:30 p.m. – Nolensville (36-4) vs. Anderson County (34-7)

5 p.m. – Crockett County-Greeneville winner vs. Murfreesboro Central-East Hamilton winner

7:30 p.m. – Nolensville-Anderson County loser vs. 5 p.m. winner, loser out

Wednesday’s Results

Anderson County def. Murfreesboro Central, 22-25, 25-22, 25-18, 25-23

Nolensville def. Crockett County, 25-12, 25-10, 25-14

Greeneville def. Covington, 25-19, 25-12, 25-18, loser out

East Hamilton def. Signal Mountain, 25-13, 25-23, 25-19, loser out

Tuesday’s Results

Anderson County def. Greeneville, 25-20, 25-20, 25-16

Murfreesboro Central vs. Covington, 25-23, 25-9, 25-12

Nolensville def. Signal Mountain, 25-8, 25-8, 25-17

Crocket County def. East Hamilton, 20-25, 25-14, 25-15, 25-21

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