Her timely aces complemented another strong performance for middle blockers Hannah Watson and Courtney Whitson, who combined for 37 kills and eight blocks in the Lady Indians’ 25-21, 25-18, 17-25, 19-25, 15-11 victory.
Watson’s final numbers were 22 kills and four blocks. The Lady Indians (36-3) will host Farragut in the sectional round Thursday night with a state-tournament berth on the line.
“I felt like the first two sets we were working together well,” Watson said. “That third set, it just hit us where we weren’t talking as much and we were making more errors than they were. But we came back together that fifth set. I’m glad we now get to play at home where we hopefully will have a big crowd.”
Shell gave the Lady Indians serious momentum in the fifth set with her team clinging to an 8-7 lead. Her timely serves were her only two aces. Shell also recorded 22 digs.
“I think it’s a focus thing. We all have that drive to win,” Shell said. “We all came together as a team and we fought to the end. We were down on our serves on those two sets we lost. But God is so good and He put us together. We’re a family and we play as one. When we play as one, we’re tough to beat.”
Staley Humphries, who totaled seven kills, 21 digs and a block, closed out the win with her kill from the left side. The shot ended a serious challenge by East, whose own formidable frontline features outside hitter Chloe Cole and Katie Felknor.
“It was a tough game and the other team played great,” Humphries said. “I prayed the whole time and it was a God thing. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates and Jesus. It got frustrating, but you have to fight through it. We just stayed together as a team.”
After sweeping past Morristown West in the semifinals, 25-16, 25-16, 25-22, D-B appeared to be cruising to another easy victory after the first two sets. However, the Lady Hurricanes got out fast to win the third and fourth sets before the Tribe regained control.
Whitson posted 15 kills, seven digs, four blocks and two aces. Chloe Harless had 37 digs and three aces, and Rylee Waye had 46 assists, 20 digs, three kills, three aces and a block. Zoie Larkins added 10 kills and two aces, and Meg Maynor contributed seven kills.
“Meg did a good job of putting the ball away for us,” D-B coach Megan Devine said. “We started to relax (when we got up two sets) and our serves started to break down a little. Morristown East is a good team and they’re not going to back down. We had our backs against the wall, but we knew going into the fifth set, it was 0-0. I’m super proud of the girls. We’ve been in a lot of five-setters, but they find a way to win.”
DANIEL BOONE FALLS IN SEMIFINALS
The Lady Trailblazers saw their season come to an end with a 25-23, 25-11, 26-24 loss to the Lady Hurricanes.
“A couple of those games were close,” Daniel Boone coach Chelsea Spivey said. “We kind of fell apart in the second game. I changed up the rotation and we didn’t adapt well to that. As a whole, we played hard and aggressive. They picked up a lot of our hits and were good all around.”
Jaycie Jenkins led Boone with 11 kills and 21 digs. McKenna Dietz finished with 30 assists and 14 digs, Greyson Stevens had seven kills, three blocks and 14 digs and Mackenzie Sweigart added five kills and three blocks.
“We had a great season. We didn’t expect to come in second during the regular season,” Spivey said. “We only have one senior (Abbi Herbert), so I expect great things next year.”