East Hamilton Whips Hixson, 3-0, To Claim Region 3-2A Volleyball Title

Lady Canes, Lady Wildcats Reach Sectionals, Last Stop Before State

Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - by Larry Fleming
East Hamilton setter Hillary English (21) sets for a teammate against Hixson in Tuesday's Region 3-2A volleyball tournament match at East Hamilton. English finished with a combined 46 assists in the semifinal and title matches. The Lady Hurricanes won, 3-0, but both teams advanced to the Sectionals on Thursday.
East Hamilton setter Hillary English (21) sets for a teammate against Hixson in Tuesday's Region 3-2A volleyball tournament match at East Hamilton. English finished with a combined 46 assists in the semifinal and title matches. The Lady Hurricanes won, 3-0, but both teams advanced to the Sectionals on Thursday.
- photo by Dennis Norwood

(Story has been updated with Red Bank information)

The 2018 postseason for East Hamilton’s volleyball team is so far a carbon copy of 2017.

And the Lady Hurricanes are loving every moment of the repeat performance.

The Lady Canes came into Tuesday’s Region 3-2A tournament as the heavy favorite and when the night ended, they were 27-2, riding a 20-match winning streak and successfully defended their 2017 title by beating District 6-2A rival Hixson, 3-0.

Scores were 25-15, 25-15 and 25-5.

It was another dominating performance.

East Hamilton beat Hixson in both the district and region tournaments a year ago in their journey that led to the state tournament. The Lady Canes are hoping for more of the same in this encore performance. 

“That’s a great accomplishment for us, the 20-game winning streak and I didn’t even know that,” Madison Hayes said. “We don’t really worry about that; we just win games, but it does feel good.”

Hayes recorded 11 kills, 12 digs, two blocks and two aces against the Lady Wildcats (18-19), who like East Hamilton earned a spot in Thursday’s Sectionals by winning their semifinal match prior to the title showdown.

East Hamilton will host Red Bank in the Sectional at 7 p.m. Hixson plays at Upperman at 7 p.m. CT. Red Bank lost to Upperman, 3-0, for the Region 4-2A championship. Set scores were 25-15, 25-13 and 26-24.

The Lady Lions (13-23) beat Livingston Academy 3-2 (25-19, 20-25, 25-9, 20-25 and 15-11) and Upperman swept Signal Mountain, 3-0 (25-12, 25-9 and 25-7) in semifinal matches.

“I don’t think we were nervous because we’ve played Hixson a lot,” said the Lady Canes’ superb junior setter, who finished with 28 assists, nine digs, two blocks, one ace and one kill. “At the same time, we weren’t cocky because we knew they could beat us if we just laid back on them. But we played hard all the way.”

English had a combined 46 assists in two matches.

The semifinal matches against the District 5-2A squads – champion Kingston and runner-up Sequoyah, bordered on a collective cakewalk.

Hixson knocked off Kingston, 3-0 (25-21, 25-17, 25-17).

East Hamilton also smothered Sequoyah, 3-0 (25-12, 25-18, 25-12) and the Lady Chiefs led only one time in the match at 8-7 in the second set. The lead lasted about 30 seconds.

“I’m super excited for the girls, the team because of the hard work we’ve put in over the last three months,” East Hamilton coach Bojana Hyatt said. “We’re excited to have hosted the regional and glad we’re playing at home in the Sectional. We like playing here.”

Hixson’s first-year coach Robert Catlett wasn’t quite as happy as Hyatt.

“My team had a lot of fight in the first two sets against East Hamilton, but in the third it looked like we were back in middle school. The passes went away. You can’t have your passes outside the attack line and expect your setter to be a track athlete and set your hitters good on the front row. We shouldn’t have to work on that this late in the season, but we’ll work on that tomorrow.”

Hixson led the first set at 11-10, scored 12 of the next 15 points to take a 22-14 lead. After Hixson’s Shelby Rector scored, the Lady Canes finished it off with three straight points on a Lady Wildcats error, Raine Phillips’ kill and an ace by Madison Hayes.

Despite a 6-1 start Hixson stayed within striking range of East Hamilton in Set 2 and trailed 20-15 before scoring the final five points to grab the commanding lead. McKenna Hayes finished off that set with a well-placed two-hand push.

The third set was a nightmare that will haunt Hixson, something it will have to shake off quickly before the Sectional round.

The Lady Canes scored 11 of the first 12 points and still had a 10-point cushion when they strung together eight straight points for a 21-3 advantage that was too much for Hixson to handle.

With the score at 8-1, Catlett called a timeout and made his girls who were on the court at the time run wind sprints for most of the stoppage in play.

“It was very frustrating,” Catlett said. “There was a build-up of things that you wish wouldn’t happen in a championship game like that. It all came out at one time and you’d rather it come out in practice and not in front of everybody. Coach (Janet) Tate (former Hixson coach) taught me that and we do it sometimes in middle school. Nobody likes to run, including me, but sometimes you have to make a statement and tell them they have to start playing.

“But we’re in the Sectionals and that’s all that matters at this point. There are a lot of people in town that would trade places with us right now.”

East Hamilton closed the match with a 5-1 scoring spree – Sidney Batten had a slap, Madison Hayes and Phillips recorded aces and Hixson threw in an error. The Hayes sisters combined for 38 kills in the semifinal and title matches.

“We came into the matches knowing we had to do what we’re supposed to do and at the end of the day we came out with the wins,” freshman McKenna Hayes said. “We kept our energy up and gave it all we had.”

Abby Rector and Gabby Tench each had 10 assists for Hixson.

All-Region 3-2A Tournament Team

East Hamilton – Hillary English, Madison Hayes, Emma Mitchell, McKenna Hayes

Hixson – Abby Rector, Shelby Rector, Gabby Tench

Hixson Stats vs. Kingston

Shelby Rector – 7 kills, 2 aces, 8 digs

Annie Zeigler – 1 ace, 1 kill, 7 digs, 2 assists

Blake Burba – 7 digs

Abby Rector – 1 ace, 12 kills, 2 blocks, 16 digs

Gabby Tench – 3 aces, 3 kills, 20 assists, 12 digs

Rickell Crutcher – 3 kills, 1 dig

Makenna Seitz – 4 digs

Ava Rogers – 1 ace, 3 kills, 1 block, 1 assist, 4 digs

East Hamilton Stats vs. Sequoyah

Hillary English – 1 ace, 1 kill, 18 assists, 5 digs, 2 blocks

Madison Hayes – 1 ace, 7 kills, 13 digs

McKenna Hayes – 4 aces, 10 kills, 1 block, 10 digs

Raine Phillips – 8 kills, 1 dig

Jordyn Griffith – 2 aces, 7 kills, 1 block

Kayla Ford – 1 kill, 8 digs

Sydney Batten – 1 ace, 4 digs

Emma Mitchell – 6 kills, 1 block, 7 digs

Jala Price – 11 digs

Emily Pettit – 13 assists, 4 digs

Madison Allen – 2 kills,

Megan Lewis – 1 ace, 2 kills, 2 digs

Kristian Michalkova 1 ace, 3 kills, 1 block

Championship Match

Hixson

Shelby Rector – 1 kill, 5 digs

Annie Zeigler – 1 kill, 6 digs

Blake Burba – 1 dig

Abby Rector – 10 assists, 5 digs

Gabby Tench – 10 assists, 5 digs

Rickell Crutcher – 1 kill, 1 block, 5 digs

Makenna Seitz – 1 dig

Ava Rogers – 2 blocks

East Hamilton

Hillary English – 1 ace, 1 kill, 28 assists, 9 digs, 2 blocks

Madison Hayes – 2 aces, 11 kills, 12 digs, 2 blocks

Raine Phillips – 3 kills, 2 blocks, 2 digs

McKenna Hayes – 2 aces, 10 kills, 2 blocks, 10 digs

Jordyn Griffith – 2 aces, 6 kills, 1 block, 6 digs

Kayla Ford – 1 kill, 8 digs

Emma Mitchell – 3 aces, 5 kills 1 block, 10 digs

Jala Price – 6 digs

Sydney Batten – 2 kills, 4 digs

Emily Pettit – 5 assists

Red Bank Stats vs. Livingston Academy

Shelby Romans – 2 kills, 1.5 blocks, 1 dig, 3 aces

Shante Smith – 2 kills, 1 block, 1 dig

Zanobia Pratt – 3 kills, 4 blocks, 1 ace

Ashley Ware – 4 kills, 1.5 blocks, 4 aces

Bailee Phillips – 5 kills, 1 block, 1 dig

Zoe Helms – 1 kill, 5 digs

Lexie Wright – 3 digs

Whitley Gann – 3 digs

Cassia Mitchell – 1 ace

Red Bank vs. Upperman

Shelby Romans – 3 kills, 1 block, 1 dig, 2 aces

Shante Smith – 1 kill, 1 block, 1 dig

Zanobia Pratt – 2 kills, 3.5 blocks

Ashley Ware – 1 kill, 1.5 blocks, 4 aces

Sydney Hoppe – 1 kill, 5 digs

Bailee Phillips – 1 kill, .5 block

Bailey Lee – 5 kills, 2 aces, 3 blocks

Zoe Helms – 1 kill, 2 digs, 2 aces

Lexie Wright – 6 digs

Whitley Gann – 3 digs

Cassia Mitchell – 2 aces

(Contact Larry Fleming at larryfleming44@gmail.com and on Twitter @larryfleming44)

 


East Hamilton and Hixson dominated the Region 3-2A volleyball tournament on Tuesday and combined for all six spots on the all-tournament team. From left, Hixson's Abby Rector, Shelby Rector, Gabby Tench and East Hamilton's Hillary English, Madison Hayes, Emma Mitchell and McKenna Hayes.
East Hamilton and Hixson dominated the Region 3-2A volleyball tournament on Tuesday and combined for all six spots on the all-tournament team. From left, Hixson's Abby Rector, Shelby Rector, Gabby Tench and East Hamilton's Hillary English, Madison Hayes, Emma Mitchell and McKenna Hayes.
- Photo2 by Dennis Norwood

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