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Corey Sayre knew Anderson County would win but that did not make the Lady Bearcat volleyball coach any happier.
A heavy favorite in the 28th District tournament semifinals, being played on its home floor, Anderson was on the wrong end of a 10-7 score to Eminence Monday night. Not only did Sayre call for a time out, he pulled his team away from the bench and huddled along the basketball baseline.
The ploy must have worked as the Lady Bearcats surrendered one more point, then scored nine straight on the way to a 25-17, 25-9 victory and advance to Tuesday’s championship game, which was played after press time.
Anderson also advanced to the Eighth Region tournament, to be held on the home court of the 27th District winner.
“I have done that one other time,” Sayre said of his blistering time out. “I told the girls that if they did not play better, as soon as the game was over, we were going to the other gym and run suicide drills for an hour.”
That Anderson was lethargic came as no surprise to Sayre. The Lady Bearcats, usually boisterous when they score a point, seemed to be going through the motions, but finally took care of business.
“They were focusing on the Henry County-Shelby County game,” Sayre admitted. “Both of those teams are very good.” Anderson was to play Shelby in the district final.
Anderson’s nine-point string came off Cindy Zhang’s service and the final two points of the first game came on Chelsea Payne’s kill and Hannah Smith’s ace.
Payne and Smith teamed to put Anderson in control in game two, as well. After Eminence took a quick 2-1 lead, Payne scored on a kill and three consecutive aces before Smith delivered another kill to make it 6-2.
A five-point service from Sandy Zhang put Anderson up 15-7 and Cindy Zhang served up the final 10 points of the match.
Anderson improved to 18-11, while Eminence finished at 1-16.
Nelson defeats Anderson in finale
Anderson County’s run through the regular volleyball season took on a sour note as visiting Nelson County defeated the Lady Bearcats 14-25, 25-22, 25-23 in the season finale.
“We played well in spurts,” said Sayre.
“We had two breakdowns in passing and they took advantage of them, especially in the third game.”
Down four in the deciding game, Anderson rallied but fell just short at the end.
“Chelsea (Payne) and Hannah (Smith) had monster games but our passing was inconsistent,” Sayre said.
“Chelsea had 11 blocks, which is absurd, but they tooled her a bunch on the outside and that’s how the game ended,” Sayre said.
E-mail John Herndon at email@example.com.