Lady Trojans’ season ends with 2 losses at state
Though the Lady Trojans’ run at the Class AA State Tournament came to an end in the final game of the opening day of the brackets after a three-set loss to Signal Mountain at Siegel High School in Murfreesboro on Tuesday evening, Dyersburg volleyball head coach Marilyn Liljenquist was proud of how her team responded after a rough start to the tournament earlier in the day.
“We played a lot better tonight than we did this morning, obviously,” Liljenquist said. “I think we just communicated better and had a better attitude.
“We knew we had to do better than we did this morning. And, we didn’t play well at all this morning so things improved.”
The Lady Eagles jumped out to an early lead before a Cassandra Swift kill helped cut the lead to 7-6 early in the first set. But, Signal Mountain answered back with an 11-2 run that was finally stopped by a Swift tip. The Lady Trojans managed to cut it back to five before a late Lady Eagle run gave Signal Mountain a 25-18 win in the opening set.
With a Rachel Finley block and a Shelby Hopper tip, the Lady Trojans took an early 4-2 lead. Again, the Lady Eagles surged with an 8-1 run but Dyersburg bounced back with a Swift kill and an Emma Boatright ace to help cut the Signal Mountain lead back to 10-9. The Lady Trojans tied the score later in the frame with a Swift kill but another 5-0 run by the Lady Eagles set the tone for the stretch run of the frame as they took the second set 25-18.
After surviving an early Lady Eagle run, the Lady Trojans seized the momentum with a Kelsie Johnson kill as well as another by Swift to go along with a long return from Faith Sherrow and a Boatright ace to take a 15-10 lead midway through the set. But, as they had done in both previous sets, the Lady Eagles stormed back - this time with an 11-1 run - which put the Lady Trojans away in the third set by a score of 25-19 to end Dyersburg’s season.
Tuesday night’s loss marks the third time in four years Signal Mountain has eliminated the Lady Trojans.
“This team is good every year,” Liljenquist said about the Lady Eagles. “They’re extremely tall and they’re all seniors.
“That’s difficult to come up against when we’re short and young.”
After the competitive loss, Liljenquist is proud of how her team ended their season, adding they ended on a good note.
“They played well together as a team,” the Lady Trojan head coach said. “They communicated and played their hearts out.”
For the players coming back, Liljenquist said Tuesday’s experience can be used to teach the Lady Trojans heading into the 2018 season.
“All of these girls that had never been on the state tournament court before know now what to expect,” Liljenquist said. “And what level they need to be playing at to be able to come back here next year and compete.”
During the two losses, Liljenquist did get additional players some time on the court, like freshman Gracie Ayers and sophomore Leah Wagner.
“It needed to happen,” Liljenquist said. “Some other players were having a tough time and we needed to change things up.
“I did want other players to have experience but when some players are having a tough day, you have to make some changes.”
With the two losses comes the end of the high school careers of the three Lady Trojan seniors - Cassandra Swift, Emma Boatright and Faith Sherrow.
“I feel bad for the seniors, but they had a great run this year,” Liljenquist said.
Camden 3, Dyersburg 0
The Lady Trojans got off to a tough start in the opening round against Camden, falling behind 4-1 in each of the first two sets during their three-set loss to the Lady Lions which sent them into the elimination bracket.
Despite a Rachel Finley kill to open the first set, Camden rallied to outscore the Lady Trojans 10-4 over the next few minutes to build a comfortable lead. Dyersburg battled back as another Finley kill was part of a brief 4-0 run to cut the Lady Lion lead to 15-12. But, Camden answered back with an 8-2 run of their own to get to within striking distance of set point. An Olivia Keiser tip over the net for a point followed by a Cassandra Swift block for another gave Dyersburg a brief spark but the Lady Lions answered to score the final two points they needed to take a 25-18 win in the opening set.
Camden dominated the early stages of the second set, not allowing Dyersburg to score back-to-back points while jumping out to a 15-5 lead. The Lady Trojans got a pair of aces from Shelby Hopper, but the Lady Lions pulled away with a 10-3 close to the set to take a 25-11 win in the second frame.
A pair of Hopper aces to start the third set helped Dyersburg take a 3-0 lead early, but Camden stormed back, outscoring the Lady Trojans 17-3 to take an 11-point lead on the way to a 25-13 win in the third set to send Dyersburg to the consolation bracket.