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Shorthanded BHS wins first-ever VolleyDog Challenge
FHS, Bearden tied for district lead; HVA gets revenge win at Powell

While entering the week 31-11 and tied for first place in District 4-AAA at 8-2, Bearden Volleyball's success Saturday afternoon broke new ground.

Despite missing two of its best players, Bearden swept seven matches without dropping a game to win the annual VolleyDog Challenge at BHS Sept. 26 — its first-ever Challenge crown since the tourney started in the mid-1990s.

“This is definitely one of my best teams, without a doubt,” said BHS head coach Jennifer Allen, in her 18th season at the helm. “This could be the best team.”

Meanwhile, Farragut remained tied with BHS in district entering the week — 30-7 overall record — while Hardin Valley Academy enjoyed a revenge win. (More on these teams later in this story)

BHS won minus senior outside hitter Sloane Gouffon during the last five matches Saturday, while Kourtni Jerrell, senior defensive specialist, has missed several recent matches due to injury.

After two matches Saturday, Gouffon had to sit with a “pulled muscle in her back,” Allen said.

However, “We had a lot of teamwork today,” added Allen, whose VolleyDogs (pictured above with title plaque) swept Alcoa (28-26, 25-7) in the semifinals and Halls in the title match (25-15, 25-22).

“We kinda rallied around Tara [Robertson, standout junior middle hitter] a lot today. She's always Steady Eddie, she's a money girl.

“Amy Letendre came back and played today, she'd been out with a knee injury ... today's the first day she's really gotten to play all season,” Allen added about her senior outside hitter.

“A lot of young girls really stepped up. Tayler Tate had a really good day; she's just a freshman but she stepped in and passed and served and really helped us. And Whitney Tate, Brittany Sliger.”

Champs among a 12-team field Saturday, Bearden's Pool A wins came versus Elizabethton, McMinn Central, Halls, White County and William Blount.

Robertson said, “I think we've improved a lot and we play together really well, especially lately.”

Paige Graham, senior outside hitter, said BHS “really came together as a team. We've been playing really well in district.

“This is kinda icing on the cake.”

After Farragut’s fifth-place finish in the GPS-Ooltewah Tournament Sept. 19 among a 25-team field, the Lady Admirals avenged earlier-season 4-AAA loses to Maryville and Heritage Thursday, Sept. 24, after beating William Blount and Lenoir City two days before.

“Chelsey Smith had her best night of the year” versus Maryville and Heritage, FHS head coach David Moore said about the junior. “She passed extremely well and served well.”

Sophomore Meghan Glinten-kamp “did a good job” replacing injured junior outside hitter Brandi Guidish, Moore said. “Kylann [Scheidt] played well.”

Hardin Valley, 13-17 overall, 6-6 in District 3-AAA, avenged a loss to Powell by defeating the Lady Panthers Sept. 22, and finished fifth among 11 teams during a tourney in Anderson County recently.

“I was honestly very happy,” Lady Hawks head coach Rebecca Pierce said about the tournament effort. “They pulled together.” Pierce praised freshman Reagan Winstead for “serving well, she's one of our main servers.”


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