WATERTOWN -- When one has been there and done that, the process can sometimes become a chore.
Not for Watertown's volleyball team, which rampaged through the Region 4-A tournament Monday with a 25-9, 25-12, 25-3 rout of Merrol Hyde and a 25-13, 25-15, 25-13 win over East Robertson for the Lady Purple Tigers' third straight region title.
Watertown will seek a threepeat trip to state at 7 p.m. Thursday when the Lady Tigers play host to Chattanooga Arts & Sciences. East Robertson will travel to Sale Creek. Both winners will advance to next week's state tournament in Murfreesboro.
"All the girls get the credit," longtime Watertown coach Brandy Holcomb said after her Lady Tigers improved to 30-5. "They've worked really hard. We try to communicate to them that every point matters. Play every game like it's the most important game all year. You do that from Game 1 all the way through, it's just kind of natural. When you get here, I don't think they're starstruck. I don't think they're shell shocked. I think they're prepared, which is our key to get them as prepared as we can."
Watertown finished fifth in its first trip to state two years ago and was one game from reaching the finals last year before finishing third.
"I took some feedback from some people who watched us all year," Holcomb said. "A couple of things they said we could work on and we have definitely worked on those couple of things and I can see an improvement. Our chemistry is good. The work ethic is good. They want to win. And they're hungry. They've gotten a lot of wins, but they're hungry to get that one… We're thinking if we work hard, we can go up another two this year."
Part of that process is ignoring the score.
"Everytime I call a timeout I ask them the score, and they tell me it's zero to zero," Holcomb said. "We lose the ball, I ask them the score, and it's 0-0. That's been one of our mottos all year, every point matters. When you're winning 20-9, probably you could lose a point here or there and it not matter. But if your mentality is every single point matters, when you get into those games when it's 23-23, that's where I think we'll see a difference this year from last year. We had a fairly easy run all the way to state last year, but we didn't focus on every point and it got us in the end of that fifth set (against Loretto in the state winner's final after Watertown led 2-0). So we're not going to let that happen to us again this year."
Against East Robertson, tournament most valuable player Sydney Murrell had 37 digs and was perfect in service receive. Alie Tunks totaled 23 digs while Faith Pulley pitched in with 11, Brookelyn Davis seven and Mackailyn Cherry two.
Natalie Fountain led all hitters with 10 kills while Davis and Abby Parkerson each powered down six, Brittni Allison and Morgan Brown two apiece and Murrell and Mikayla Nix one each.
Cherry set up 16 assists and Davis 12.
Davis served up three aces, Murrell two and Pulley and Cherry one each.
Parkerson, Cherry and Brown each had two solo blocks while Fountain and Allison added one apiece.
Against Merrol Hyde, Fountain finished with 13 kills while Davis notched nine, Allison four Parkerson four, Nix and Gala Holbrooks two each and Cherry one.
Davis and Cherry each set up 17 assists.
Davis and Fountain had two solo blocks each.
Murrell, a senior libero, had 22 digs with no errors and six aces. Tunks totaled 14 digs, Davis and Pulley three apiece and Cherry two. Davis and Tunks each served up four aces while Parkerson picked up three and Cherry two.
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Joining Murrell on the all-tournament team were junior outside hitter Fountain and junior setter Davis.
Lady Wildcats finish second in 5-AAA, travel to Brentwood tonight
GLADEVILLE -- Host Wilson Central finished second in the Region 5-AAA tournament Tuesday with a 26-24, 25-20, 25-14 loss to District 10-AAA champion Station Camp.
But the District 9-champion Lady Wildcats still qualified for tonight's 7 p.m. sectional thanks to a 25-20, 25-27, 25-22, 25-21 triumph over Hendersonville in the semifinals earlier in the day.
Central will travel to three-time defending state champion Brentwood with the winner advancing to next week's state tournament in Murfreesboro. Station Camp will play host to Ravenwood.
Station Camp advanced to the region final with a 25-15, 25-23, 25-22 semifinal triumph over Lebanon.
Emilee McDonald led the Lady Wildcats with 14 digs and 12 assists against Station Camp while Ally Knueven notched 10 digs and four kills, Taryn Wilson 14 digs and Sydney Dalton eight kills as Central slipped to 21-12.
Against Hendersonville, McDonald delivered 27 assists, 25 digs and 13 kills while Knueven notched 20 digs, 16 kills and two aces; Wilson 26 digs and 10 assists and Dalton 20 kills.
For Lebanon, Kendall Arnold had 18 assists, 16 digs and three kills against Station Camp while Haley Mitchell had nine kills, seven digs and an assist; Addie Grace Porter 19 digs and an ace and iris Hubert five digs and four kills as the Lady Devils finished a 17-11 season.
Knueven and Dalton represented Wilson Central on the all-region tournament team while Porter made the team from Lebanon.