BRENTWOOD – Hollye Tate anchored the offense and younger sister Hannah highlighted the defense.
Both had career nights for the Brentwood High School volleyball team, which upended previously unbeaten and nationally-ranked Nolensville in four sets on Tuesday in the first District 11-AAA meeting of the two championship programs.
“This one feels really good,” said Hollye, a senior, who collected a match- and career-high 15 kills. “We have certain games that we pick out and it’s those win or nothing ones, so we put it all on the floor. The energy was there tonight and it was just awesome.”
Brentwood, the eight-time defending Class AAA champions who improved to 15-3 overall, dropped a 25-21 opening game to Nolensville, but won the next three 25-23, 25-18, 25-17 by keeping the Lady Knights out of rhythm.
Hannah Tate was still soaking in the atmosphere afterward, which included a group of students that helped elevate the home team.
“It’s been a dream to be out here for so many years, so to actually be playing is kind of insane,” said the sophomore, who scooped up a career-best 17 digs to lead the Lady Bruins. “I think we were just better prepared and that starts because we are all like family.”
Literally for the Tate sisters.
“I really wanted to make sure to get this one,” said Brentwood first-year head coach Cathy Cram. “We’ve been in these situations many times, but I wanted us to be the more aggressive and more experienced team. I think we were tonight."
Cram’s team displayed a solid serve-receive against the Lady Knights and also forced Nolensville out of rotation in the final three sets consistently.
The Lady Knights (16-1), who moved up from Class AA after consecutive championships, committed more than 30 attack errors and hit a season-low .277.
“We just committed way too many errors,” Nolensville coach Brett Young said. “I was really proud of how we responded in that first set and even how we started the second set, but you have to give Brentwood credit.
“It’s like what I told the girls in the huddle at the end there, until somebody knocks them off when it matters, that’s the team everybody’s chasing.”
Junior setter Dylan Sulcer spread the ball around to the Brentwood hitters. She closed with 37 assists, 10 digs and four aces to go with four kills. Classmate Ashley Miller added 11 kills and 14 digs, while sophomore Cece Meyer added six more kills with a pair of blocks. Another sophomore, Ashley Hurt ,was a menace at the net, coming up with a match-high seven blocks and five kills.
Meyer closed the second set after Nolensville rallied from a seven-point deficit to get within 24-23 on a Maggie Rickert kill. The young middle swooped in for the set-clincher from the right side.
Hurt also came up big late in the third set when she scored a late kill and then provided a solo block on the right side to end the game.
The elder Tate said Brentwood’s balance was on display Tuesday.
“No matter if you’re a freshman or a senior, we all know what is expected of each other when you go out there swinging,” she said. “We have confidence in each other and all play off one another.”
Rickert closed with 14 kills and Avery Young added 13 for Nolensville. Maymie Guthrie contributed 24 digs.
“They just did a good job of keeping us out of system tonight,” Young said. “They served tough and we have to pass better. Tonight we were just a little too loose and had more errors than we are used to, but the good news is we will have plenty more opportunities to see this team.”
The loss snapped a 31-match win streak for Nolensville, dating back to the state championship run last year in Class AA. The last team to beat them: Brentwood, in a tournament setting on Sept. 19, 2020.
The two new rivals tangle again Sept. 23 in Nolensville.
The Lady Knights next face Page Wednesday and host Centennial Thursday.
Brentwood battles Siegel Wednesday before heading to Centennial next week.
“We are just going to stay focused and keep pushing,” Hannah Tate said. “We all have each other’s back and that makes it a lot of fun to play with this team.”