By JESSE SMITHEY
With the 2021 TSSAA State VolleyBall Tournaments ready to be held next week (Oct. 19-22) at various high school gyms in Rutherford County, that means one thing this week: berths into the event will be pocketed.
Area volleyball teams vied for region championships Tuesday night. The region winners, later this week, will host state sectional matches – where winners will advance to state. Tuesday’s region runners-up will travel for the state sectional round.
Get caught up below on how teams from the 5Star Preps coverage area fared Tuesday, which ones advanced and what teams they’ll face off with next …
Only two teams from the 5Star Preps remain in the hunt for a Class A state championship: South Greene and Harriman.
South Greene won the Region 1-A championship with ease on Tuesday, knocking off Cosby (25-8, 25-6, 25-9) and then cruising past rival North Greene (25-12, 25-13, 25-12) in the championship.
South Greene’s victory gave it its fourth consecutive region title, and the Lady Rebels will play host to Harriman, the Region 2-A runner-up, in a state sectional match Thursday. Up for grabs will be a spot in next week’s state tournament, which Siegel High School will host for Class A beginning on Tuesday, Oct. 19.
South Greene has five runner-up finishes at state but no state titles.
Harriman has never played in a state volleyball tournament.
North Greene, which eliminated Gatlinburg-Pittman in the Region 1-A semifinals in four sets, will play at Region 2-A champion Chattanooga School for Arts & Sciences (CSAS) in a Class A sectional on Thursday. CSAS defeated Harriman in the Region 2-A championship in straight sets.
The Anderson County, Gibbs and Alcoa volleyball teams were the lone area Class AA programs to survive the elimination rounds Tuesday night in region play.
Anderson County, seeking a third consecutive trip to the state tournaments, won Region 2-AA comfortably on Tuesday night. Anderson County cruised past Northview in straight sets in the semifinals and then blanked Gibbs in the final, 3-0.
The Lady Mavs won that region title match: 25-17, 25-14 and 25-19. Jayce Braden of Anderson County was named tournament MVP.
Anderson County will welcome Region 1-AA runner-up Tennessee High in a Class AA state sectional on Thursday. Tennessee High eliminated a really good Greeneville club in three sets Tuesday in the Region 1-AA semifinals but fell to Sullivan East, 25-20, 25-16 and 25-22 in the Region 1-AA Championship.
Gibbs, which hasn’t reached state since 1999, will have to go on the road and topple Sullivan East on Thursday to end that drought.
As for Alcoa, it got past Hixson in four sets — winning the last two — to reach the Region 3-AA championship. But East Hamilton blew past the Lady Tornadoes in the region finale, 25-15, 25-14, 25-15.
Alcoa will play at Region 4-AA champion Signal Mountain on Thursday for a chance at getting its first-ever, state-tournament berth.
The Class AA state tournament runs Tuesday-Thursday at Rockvale High School with the championship being played Friday at Siegel High.
Only Maryville and Hardin Valley remain from the area in Class AAA volleyball, as Morristown East and Jefferson County bowed out in the region semifinals.
Science Hill eliminated Morristown East, 25-14, 25-16 and 25-19; meanwhile, West Ridge topped Jefferson County 25-19, 25-19, 25-21. Science Hill just edged West Ridge in the finale, 25-20, 25-23 and 25-20.
That means Science Hill will play host to Region 2-AAA runner-up Hardin Valley in Thursday’s state sectionals. Hardin Valley, which got to region as a 4-seed out of District 4-AAA, eliminated host West, 3-1, in the Region 2-AAA semifinals to keep the season alive.
But in the Region 2-AAA final, Maryville quickly got up two sets. And despite trailing by eight points in the third, the Lady Rebels rallied to beat HVA in the third, 26-24.
Maryville is seeking its second-consecutive berth to the Class AAA state tournament, which will be Oct. 19-21 at Blackman High School. The championship match is set for Oct. 22 at Siegel High.
Hardin Valley has two state-tournament appearances: 2016 and 2017.
Two old state-tournament rivals rematched Tuesday night in an elimination match. And it looked like St. George’s was going to get the better of Concord Christian School (CCS) yet again.
St. George’s beat Concord in the Class A state championship in 2019. And St. George’s got up two sets on CCS on Tuesday night. But Concord rallied in a major way, taking the last three sets to advance to Saturday’s state-sectional round, which also doubles as the state quarterfinals.
So if Concord wins Saturday at defending state-champion Goodpasture, Concord will advance to the state semifinals — which begin Tuesday, Oct. 19 at Middle Tennessee Christian School (MTCS). The state championship match will be Oct. 21, also at MTCS.
Alli Morris had 37 kills, 17 digs and five aces, as Grace Christian topped Providence in four sets. The Lady Rams fell in the opening set, 22-25, but rallied to win the final three: 25-18, 25-17 and 25-19.
Grace Christian will face the No. 1 seed out of the West, which is Northpoint Christian, in a state sectional on Saturday. Northpoint last reached state in 2007. Grace’s last appearance was 2014.
The Webb School of Knoxville won six consecutive state titles from 2013-2018 but the Lady Spartans haven’t been back to state since. They’ll try to fix that on Saturday.
Webb won the first two sets and the fourth in Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Harpeth Hall to secure a spot in Saturday’s state sectional round. There, the Lady Spartans will face Father Ryan (16-6) for a spot in next week’s Division II-AA state semifinals.
Catholic had a bye on Tuesday. The Lady Irish (30-9) will play St. Agnes (15-6) on Saturday for a chance to go to the state semifinals, as well.
Middle Tennessee Christian School will host the Division II-AA tournament, Oct. 19-21.