The junior delivered some jarring spikes for kills at the net, made a couple of back-line kills, made solid passes and serves and even set up a deceptive play or two along the way with her teammates to lead the Lady Spartans to a 25-20, 25-21, 25-18 sweep of Rye Cove in the Cumberland District volleyball tournament championship game at Eastside.
The win marked the first time since 2012 that Eastside won both the Cumberland District regular season and tournament championships.
“It was pretty important to us,” said Whited. “We knew we wanted to come out and get it.”
Despite the victory, Whited said the Lady Spartans still have room for improvement.
“I don’t think that we played as good as we normally do,” Whited said.
Whited finished with 15 kills, four service aces, 13 digs and three assists.
Kaylee Yates recorded 11 kills and two blocks for the Lady Spartans (19-4), while Laura Lanteri had nine kills, 13 digs and three aces.
Tinley Hamilton had 28 assists and 10 digs for Eastside and Kacie Jones finished with 24 digs.
Eastside coach Brianne Bailey said it was a matter of survival for her squad to get through the district tournament. With the regional tournament on the horizon, Bailey anticipates her team will have a resurgence of enthusiasm.
“After playing a team so many times, it gets redundant, and I think next week going into the regional tournament, they’ll see new teams and we’ll have new life,” the coach said.
Eastside begins Region 1D tournament play Nov. 7 at home against Honaker in a 7 p.m. quarterfinal game.
Rye Cove (12-12) will also be at home Nov. 7 in a Region 1D quarterfinal contest against Holston.
In Thursday’s championship loss, Rye Cove got 11 kills from Karleigh Sloan and 17 assists from Emily Bishop.
THOMAS WALKER SETS THE PACE
In the consolation game, Thomas Walker (15-7) took a 25-8, 25-14, 25-21 over Twin Springs to earn a trip to the regional tournament.
Thomas Walker set the pace in the first two sets to clinch the Cumberland’s third and final spot.
It will be a battle of coach vs. player Tuesday when the Lady Pioneers host Chilhowie, the Hogoheegee District’s No. 3 seed, in the opening round.
Thomas Walker coach Kristen Parker played her prep volleyball at Chilhowie for current coach Laura Robinson.
“It’s kind of a bittersweet thing,” Parker said. “It’s going to be a good one.”
Despite the sentimental effect of coaching against her high school alma mater and coach, Parker is thrilled that her team is back in the region.
The second-seeded Lady Pioneers were upended by third-seeded Rye Cove in the tournament’s semifinals earlier this week and had to win Thursday’s consolation game to clinch a spot in the regional tourney.
“They definitely played the first two games like they knew they could,” Parker said of the win. “In the third one, they kind of laid down a little, but they definitely played better tonight. I’m glad they weren’t done yet.”
Isabella Schwartz finished the night with three service aces and 16 assists for Thomas Walker. The 16 assists gave Schwartz 1,001 for her career, making her the first player in Thomas Walker history to surpass 1,000.
Thomas Walker finished with a balanced attack.
Talyn Dibrell had seven kills and three aces. Autumn Collinsworth had six kills, while Lakin Burke and Madison Mayes added five kills apiece. Mayes added three aces.
Savannah Hall had eight digs for the Lady Pioneers.
Emma Dingus finished with 11 kills for Twin Springs, while Chloe Lane had 10 kills.
Chloe Gilmer finished with 22 assists and Alyssa McCracken had 22 digs for the Lady Titans (6-17).