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Battle outlasts Central to reach Mountain 7 semis

Kevin Mays • Oct 28, 2019 at 11:28 PM

BRISTOL, Va. — John Battle and Wise Central went to the wire and beyond in the first set of Monday’s opening-round play in the Mountain 7 District volleyball tournament at John Battle’s gym.

Battle was in control the rest of the way.

After dropping the first set, the Lady Trojans pulled out a 27-29, 25-12, 25-16, 25-14 victory and advanced to Wednesday’s tournament semifinal round at Abingdon.

“I don’t believe that we came in with an attitude that this was going to be a walk in the park,” said Battle coach Brittni Haderer. “Central was coming for us. They’re a tough team and they can play really tough.

“They wanted to take control of the match and I don’t think we respected too much of that and did all we could in the first set to play our game. And I think after that first set it was like, ‘OK, let’s go. Let’s turn it on.’ ”

The fourth-seeded Lady Trojans (11-12) face top-seeded Abingdon (22-3) at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the semifinals. That match follows the semifinal pitting Gate City (15-9) against Union (20-7).

Battle’s win also secured the Mountain 7’s third seed for next week’s Region 2D tournament.

Despite the loss, Central (11-12) made the regional field as well. Coupled with first-round losses by Ridgeview and Lee High, the Lady Warriors gained the fourth seed in the Region 2D tournament. They don’t play again until next week’s quarterfinal with Virginia High, the Southwest District’s top seed.

WHAT A START

Battle and Central appeared to be headed for a classic contest early on.

The teams swapped the lead seven times and battled through 17 ties before Central managed to win the first set on two Battle return errors.

But behind strong front-line play — led by Emma Harmon’s 19 kills and five blocks — the Lady Trojans pulled away for three comfortable set wins to secure the match.

STAT BOOK

Kelsey Blaylock added nine kills and seven digs for Battle. Keelie Pippin had 34 assists and 11 digs and Bethany Smith finished with 31 digs.

Olivia Sanders had 11 kills to lead Central’s attack. The trio of Charlee Long, Bayleigh Allison and Gabby Hall finished with eight, eight and seven kills for the Lady Warriors.

Central also got 35 assists and 15 digs from Caitlin Glover, Hannah McAmis recorded 34 digs and Rylee Duncan finished with 10 digs.

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