The Oak Ridge volleyball team suffered a season-ending loss at Wildcat Arena on Tuesday night in the Region 2-AAA tournament semifinals.
Farragut, which went on to win the regional championship, defeated the Lady Wildcats in the semifinal elimination game for the second straight year. The Lady Admirals won in straight sets Tuesday: 25-20, 25-20, and 30-28.
That prevented Oak Ridge from moving on the sectional round, the set of games that determine which teams go to the state tournament. Sectionals follow the regional championship games. Win or lose, both teams in each regional championship game move on to sectional games.
“This is such a disappointing way to end what was otherwise a banner year for Oak Ridge volleyball,” Oak Ridge Head Coach David Kolodney said after the Tuesday night semifinal loss, according to information provided by Buzz Patrick, who provides volleyball stories and photos to local news and sports outlets. “In the match that mattered most, we came up very short. We know going into this that it would be tough—Farragut always brings their ‘A’ game in big moments—but we had a good game plan and when we were able to execute it, we were successful.”
The Lady Wildcats spent much of the night scrambling while reacting to Farragut’s offense, rather than using their normal owning-of-the-game pace set through their own attack, establishing their defense through being the best offense, Patrick said.
Oak Ridge was paced by setter Paige Halcrow with a double-double (10 kills, 14 assists); outside hitter Ainsley Patrick with 17 kills, who was named to the All-Region Tournament Team; and sophomore Sydney Ward with 24 digs and two aces. Kolodney named Ward as Player of the Match.
“(Sydney) has been really consistent throughout the last few weeks of the season,” said Kolodney of his libero. “Tonight, she was a great defensive player—both passing and digging she led the team—but also perfect from the service stripe while giving us a third of our aces.”
Unfortunately for the Lady ‘Cats, these performances weren’t enough to extend the season and accomplish the goal of reaching the state tournament, Patrick said.
“The silver lining is that we have a strong, cohesive, very talented group of players who will be back to make another run at it next year,” Kolodney said. “It’s hard to see past tonight’s loss, but to finish the year 33-5 is definitely an accomplishment. For the overwhelming majority of the season we played great, physically and mentally. We just didn’t tonight.”
Oak Ridge volleyball finished with an overall 33-5 record.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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