With Class A state volleyball tournament semifinal victories Wednesday, Summertown and Loretto set up their most important meeting of the year.
The defending state champion Lady Eagles will take on the District 11-A and Region 6-A runner-up Lady Mustangs at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in the winners bracket final at Stewarts Creek High School in Murfreesboro. The winner of the matchup will advance to Friday’s 10 a.m. championship game at Siegel High School, with the loser forced to play a 7:30 p.m. elimination game Thursday.
Summertown (33-4) has defeated Loretto (28-10) in each of their five previous meetings this season — including regular-season home-and-home contests and a clash in the semifinals of the Lawrence County Border Battle tournament prior to the district and region tourney finals.
That familiarity concerns veteran coach Andrea Kelly.
“I won’t lie and say it doesn’t,” she said. “It does definitely. We know what we’re getting. They’re a county rival, a district rival, 30 minutes away. We know them, they know us. It’s always a battle.”
After opening the tournament with a straight-sets win over Meigs County, Summertown defeated Watertown — the 2019 state runner-up — in similar fashion Wednesday, winning 25-18, 25-20, 25-18.
“We knew (Wednesday’s) match was going to be our challenge,” Kelly said. “We played Watertown twice last year. We won in three, but on the floor, it feels a lot closer. The scores don’t always show the competitiveness of the game.”
Loretto defeated South Greene in straight sets Tuesday, before advancing to the winners bracket finals with a 3-1 (16-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-14) win over Sale Creek.
“It’ll be a challenge; it always is,” Kelly said of the looming matchup. “We’ve been able to hold them off all five times, but we struggled with them (in the region championship). We beat them in three, but it wasn’t an easy three. We expect them to give us everything they’ve got.”
Meigs County and South Greene each survived elimination contests Wednesday against Union City and Halls, respectively. Meigs County will take on Sale Creek in Thursday’s 9:30 a.m. game at Stewarts Creek, with South Greene to face Watertown at 12 noon.
The Thursday morning winners will play at 5 p.m. Thursday, with the losers bracket final set for 7:30 p.m.
Entering the third day of the tournament, Kelly is pleased with her team’s performance thus far.
“My kids so far have shown up every game and have that drive to win,” she said. “We’re hitting well, serving well, passing well — doing the things we need to do. Sometimes we lost focus, but we were able to rebound.
“We’re ready to go, as ready as we’ll ever be.”