After falling to defending state champion Portland in three sets Tuesday in their TSSAA Class AA tournament opener, the Lady Rebels bounced back with a 25-10, 25-17, 27-25 victory over Chester County in Tuesday night’s elimination match.
Maddie Townsend knocked down 12 kills and had four blocks and Abbey Jayne recorded 11 kills in South’s win. Olivia Delung tallied 19 assists, Makkenzie Compton added 13, and Meredith St. Clair anchored the defense with 19 digs.
South took out some of its frustrations on the Lady Eagles, who stayed winless in six matches at the state tournament.
“They played a lot more relaxed than they did this morning,” Lady Rebels coach Wendy Ratliff said. “We killed the ball a lot better and we were able to get the offense going.
“This was a big confidence boost and it was also a relief for the girls because no one ever wants to be the first team eliminated.”
The Lady Rebels face East Hamilton on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Middle Tennessee State. The Lady Hurricanes gave Knox Catholic fits earlier in the day before being swept.
EARLIER IN THE DAY
Everything went south for the Lady Rebels after a promising first set against the Lady Panthers, who won 25-23, 25-14, 25-13.
View the photo gallery from the match
“We knew what to expect going in because we had seen them before,” Ratliff said. “I think we executed really well the first game and then just not so well the second and third games. We stopped trying to kill the ball and we had some problems trying to close out the play.
“We would hit it at them and they would dig it. We weren’t figuring out really how to place the ball.”
South looked like the defending state champion early in the first set, building a 15-9 lead, but Portland clawed back for the win.
The Lady Panthers had found their spark, and the Lady Rebels trailed as badly as 18-7 at one point in the second before carrying a decent finish into the third set.
A close set early on in the third turned once the Lady Panthers gained a 5-4 advantage.
South could not dig itself out of the hole and saw a close set become a laugher in a hurry.
The Lady Rebels had some bright moments, but the back line defense showed holes late in the match. The size differential was not that much either, but the South offense stopped flowing after the first set and the Lady Rebels could never get it back.
Jayne and Townsend each finished with seven kills for the Lady Rebels.