The Loudon High School Lady Redskins volleyball team picked up a second District 5-2A tournament championship in four seasons Oct. 8 with a 3-1 win over Sequoyah High School.
The Lady Redskins took the first two sets 25-14 and 25-22, but failed to stop a Sequoyah comeback in the third, losing 25-16 to cut the Lady Redskins’ lead to 2-1.
“Like I was telling them, I’m just so proud of how much this team has grown and how much they’ve really improved,” Olivia Hicks, LHS assistant coach, said. “I’ve never been so confident in a team — the way that they work and the ability that they have. I knew that going into the game ... the first round of the district tournament was a little quieter, we didn’t have a big crowd. I think the other team already had in their mind what was going to happen, so we really rise to the occasion when things get a little more intense in the gym and it’s a little bit louder.”
Coaches stressed fundamentals in the offseason and preseason, which proved valuable in several tight matches.
“It’s been about the little things and little details,” Hicks said. “They just were working in all the sets but the third one. It’s just the little things, you know? We’ve talked about how service errors can really get you or just a simple, little passing thing or a block can really get you. Just seeing them for the majority of the game have just the little things intact and working so hard was really nice. I was confident in them from the first set.”
Hicks stepped in head coach Jody Bunch’s absence last week, which brought back memories for the former head coach.
“It was different kind of being back in the lead spot since I spent my first season as the assistant,” she said. “Honestly, even if I wasn’t there, they probably would’ve been fine — that’s how confident I am in them. They make this job pretty easy with how hard they’re willing to work.”
The night was special for senior Shea Ervin, who was a freshman the last time the Lady Redskins clinched the district championship.
“It’s actually super special to me,” Ervin said. “I like starting the way I ended it. This season has meant so much to me, especially with us being as good as we are. It’s super memorable, and it’s going to be super hard to leave. It just makes me emotional talking about it. Having this memory with them, it’s super ... it means the world to me.”
The win also marks the first time the Lady Redskins have clinched the regular season and tournament championship in District 5-2A.
“It’s record-breaking, it’s amazing,” Hicks said. “Honestly, the best part has been seeing them react to the success. Even from something small in practice when someone gets that block or someone finally gets a really good spot or really good kill, just seeing their faces light up and seeing it actually click for them. The work that some of these upperclassmen have put in, it makes it all worth it just seeing them getting excited to win and being confident going into matches.”
The Lady Redskins hosted the Hixson High School Lady Wildcats on Tuesday after presstime in the Region 3-2A semifinals.