MURFREESBORO – One Williamson County team advanced and another fell in the opening round of the 2021 Class AAA State Volleyball Championships Tuesday at Blackman High School.
The Ravenwood Lady Raptors overcame a slow start to defeat Houston in four sets, while Region 6-AAA champion Nolensville suffered a five-set loss against Cleveland.
Both teams play Wednesday with Ravenwood in championship bracket against Hardin Valley at 9:30 a.m. Nolensville will try to extend their season in the double-elimination tournament against Maryville at 5 p.m.
Ravenwood def. Houston, 3-1
The Lady Raptors, the runners-up in Region 6-AAA, overcame a 25-22 loss in the first set Tuesday to win the next three 25-18, 25-18, 25-21 and advance out of the first round.
Reaghan Larkin recorded 13 kills and four aces for Ravenwood, while Avery LePore added a double-double with 12 kills and 10 digs. Kennedy Riggs collected 41 assists, nine digs, three aces and two blocks in the win.
The Lady Raptors also received 21 digs from Bella LePore and four kills and four blocks from Reghan Grimes.
Ravenwood will face a Hardin Valley team that tipped Siegel – the championship host – 25-19, 14-25, 25-15, 25-21 in the early match Tuesday.
Cleveland def. Nolensville, 3-2
The Lady Knights dropped a 25-19, 25-23, 23-25, 20-25, 15-10 contest in their state opener in the third meeting between the two teams this season.
Cleveland upends Nolensville in five games winning the fifth set 15-10 in a wild one at Blackman. Here’s the clincher —> pic.twitter.com/EeHlmNmnh7— Charles Pulliam (@cspulliam) October 20, 2021
Nolensville swept to tournament wins in the first two matchups – most recently taking a 2-0 victory over the Blue Raiders on Sept. 17.
Despite the setback, Lady Knights coach Brett Young said he was pleased with the “grit and effort” from his team, especially after falling behind 2-0 after the first two sets.
“I knew we would not lay down and we were very close to pulling that thing off in the fifth set,” he said after his team narrowed a 11-5 deficit in the fifth game to 11-9. “I thought Avery (Young) and Maymie (Guthrie) did a great job of keeping the girls composed and I thought they did what seniors are supposed to in a tough situation and played very well tonight.”
Maggie Allred triggered the late spurt for Nolensville with a kill from the middle before Kaira Knox elevated and slammed down another. Young tacked on a kill off the Cleveland block and Allred recorded a solo block up front in the final surge.
The Lady Knights went to Knox on three straight attacks, but Cleveland’s defense held before Jordan Whitcraft blocked the final attempt. Her teammate Mary Smith followed with another block to extend the lead to 13-10 before Young sent a kill down the right side.
Cleveland closed the match with the next two points to advance.
“Now we just have to take this think a match at a time and try to give ourselves a chance to get to Friday,” Young said. “We know it’s a tough road ahead but at this point, we’re just going to focus on Maryville.”
Maggie Rickert ends a tight, must-win game for Nolensville. The Lady Knights take game 3 25-23. Cleveland leads 2-1. Here’s the clincher —> pic.twitter.com/mXek2NlddU— Charles Pulliam (@cspulliam) October 19, 2021
Class AAA State Volleyball Championships at Blackman High School
Hardin Valley def. Siegel (25-19, 14-25, 25-15, 25-21)
Ravenwood def. Houston (22-25, 25-18, 25-18, 25-21)
Maryville def. Collierville (20-25, 25-22, 25-22, 22-25, 15-9)
Cleveland def. Nolensville (25-19, 25-23, 23-25, 20-25, 15-10)
9:30 a.m. – Ravenwood (25-13) vs. Hardin Valley (33-11)
12 p.m. – Collierville (38-7) vs. Cleveland (37-11)
2:30 p.m. – Siegel (29-13) vs. Houston (24-11), loser out
5 p.m. – Nolensville (38-4) vs. Maryville (32-9), loser out