WATERTOWN — Having been there, done that the previous three years, Watertown dispatched Community in a business-like 25-14, 25-15, 25-15 sectional sweep Thursday night.
Community jumped to a 5-2 lead in the first game. But Morgan Brown served up six straight points in a 7-0 Watertown run and the Lady Tigers were never threatened in advancing to state for the fourth straight season with a 33-6 record.
“I thought they looked a little slow to start with,” Watertown coach Brandy Holcomb said. “I think the magnitude of win or go home kind of got them a little bit early. They settled down.”
Watertown will face Union City at noon Tuesday at Stewarts Creek. The winner will face either Meigs County or defending champion Summertown at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday while the losers meet that afternoon in a 2:30 elimination match.
Brookelyn Davis led Watertown with 22 assists, eight kills, six digs, five aces and two assisted blocks while Chloe Poston put up 10 assists, four digs and two aces; Brown nine kills, seven aces and seven digs; Alie Tunks 11 digs and four aces, Summer Sesnan eight digs and two aces, Gala Holbrooks five kills and two assisted blocks, Natalie Fountain four kills and a solo block, Brittni Allison two kills and an assist, Carson Cowan an assist and a dig, Faith Pulley an ace and a dig, Abby Parkerson nine kills and Madison Baskin three digs.
In a normal year, the Lady Tigers would be focused on taking the final step from a fifth-place tie in 2017 to third in ‘18 and runner-up last year. But in 2020, nothing is guaranteed and qualifying for the state doesn’t mean a team will ultimately get to play in it.
“As a team, we have always had a goal for the last couple of years to make it to the state tournament,” said Baird, who played basketball and softball at Dickson County, came to Cumberland to play softball and to Watertown in 2005 to coach softball and, a year later, begin the volleyball program even though she had never played the sport. “We prepare in the summer to make it to the state tournament. We talk about it, we work for it. Because they’ve got it in their mind, that’s the goal, we’re going to achieve it, I don’t have to do a lot of work. I just let them play and let them go get it.”
As for the uncertainty caused by the pandemic?
“I prayed for safety, I prayed that we would get to have a season and just led the Lord take it from there,” Holcomb said. “His plan is bigger than COVID. If He wanted us to have a season, He would give us one and if He didn’t, I would just trust the Lord.
“I’m very thankful that we were able to play.”
The Class A tournament will be played at Stewarts Creek beginning Tuesday with the finals set for Siegel next Friday. Middle Tennessee State’s Murphy Center won’t be available because the university isn’t allowing outside groups to come in to use its facilities.
“Four years ago, those girls set a precedent of ‘we can do this’ and they did,” Holcomb said. “That’s kind of just our mentality. If we expect it and prepare for it, then here we are.
“If you expect it and don’t prepare, you’re a little arrogant. If you prepare and don’t expect it, you’re selling yourself short. But if you expect it and then you prepare for it, then you achieve your goals.”
In the other bracket are Sale Creek, Halls, Loretto and South Greene.
Lebanon ousted by Brentwood dynasty
BRENTWOOD — Lebanon lost at seven-time defending Class AAA state champion Brentwood 25-15, 25-21, 25-18 in sectional action Thursday night.
Addie Grace Porter picked up 10 digs, nine kills, an ace, a block and an assist for the Lady Devils while Kendall Arnold set up 17 assists, 10 digs, two kills and a block; Avery Harris seven kills, three digs and a block and Ava Knight four blocks, four digs and two kills.
Lebanon finished the season 20-6.