Note: This story was last updated at 1:50 p.m. Oct. 6
KARNS—Oak Ridge swept Anderson County in three close sets to win the District 3-AAA volleyball championship at Karns on Wednesday.
All three sets were decided by four points or less: 25-21, 28-26, and 25-22.
“It’s really exciting to beat our biggest rival of the entire season,” said senior Alex Sherles, who played outside hitter and was named most valuable player of the tournament and will go to East Tennessee State University next fall. “This is what we worked for the entire season.
“Everything just came together,” Sherles said, citing blocking, setting, coverage, and attacking.
Oak Ridge, the top seed in the district tournament this year, lost to Anderson County in the District 3-AAA championship last year, but has won the district tournament three of the last four years, Sherles said.
Oak Ridge Coach David Kolodney said Sherles had big, timely kills on offense on Wednesday.
“Alex has been a star for us all year,” Kolodney said. “She stepped up big when we needed her to.”
Sherles was also the All-District MVP for the regular season.
Kolodney said senior Stella Powell, who played in the middle, had key kills and solo blocks.
“Stella’s been playing lights out,” he said. “It’s fun to watch when it comes together.”
Olivia Milloway, who played in the middle, and Piper Halcrow, who played outside and scored the final point on a set by Emily Lawless, were both named to the All-Tournament Team along with Sherles.
The scores in the final three sets remained relatively close or were tied at times. Anderson County, the second seed in the district tournament, had the lead a few times, and the Lady Mavericks were ahead by as many as six points in the third set. But when they were down, Oak Ridge, the top seed, battled back.
“They really, really wanted it,” Kolodney said of the Lady Wildcats. “It was a fun match to be at.”
There were no more than a handful of mistakes by either team, Kolodney said, and points were won, not lost.
The last time the two teams met, on September 6 during the regular season, they ending up playing five sets before Oak Ridge emerged the winner.
Kolodney also cited the play of setters Beth Wyatt, a senior, and Lawless. Kills are set up by sets, which are set up by passes, Kolodney said.
The Lady Wildcats, who finished 8-0 in the district, will play in the Region 2-AAA tournament on Monday, although it’s not clear yet who they will play or where.
Oak Ridge beat Gibbs, the fourth seed, in three sets in the semifinals on Wednesday to advance to the championship. The scores in those sets were 25-5, 25-11, and 25-9.
Oak Ridge beat Powell, the eighth seed, in three sets on Tuesday to advance to the semifinals.
Anderson County beat Karns, the third seed, in the semifinals Wednesday to advance to the final.
The top two teams in the district move on to the Region 2-AAA tournament, so Oak Ridge and Anderson County both advance.
Kolodney said the District 4 opponent is likely to be a team that Oak Ridge has already played this season.
More information will be added as it becomes available.