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Boone qualifies for state for first time as AAA school

Tanner Cook • Oct 18, 2019 at 2:28 AM

KNOXVILLE — The drought is over for the Daniel Boone volleyball team.

The Lady Trailblazers are heading back to the state tournament for the first time since 1998 — and the first time as a TSSAA Class AAA team.

Boone went on the road and took a thrilling five-set match over Farragut on Thursday, winning 23-25, 26-24, 21-25, 25-19, 15-13.

“I cannot say enough about how hard these seniors have worked,” Boone coach Chelsea Baker said. “They deserve every amount of respect that they have. They have stepped up in every way possible. Greyson Stevens played huge for us tonight. Jaycie (Jenkins) has been consistent all year and Laken Jones has played so well over these last few matches. She’s picked up balls that she had had trouble getting to all year.”

The momentum swing came late in the third set, even though the Lady ’Blazers lost that game. Down 22-15, Boone rallied and cut the deficit to 24-20 and put a lot of pressure on the Lady Admirals.

Boone dominated the next set and led by as many as 10 points, 20-10. The fifth was a battle — Farragut almost rallied from down 14-11 -— but Boone shut the door.

Stevens closed with 17 kills, three blocks and six digs. McKenna Dietz had an eye-popping 49 assists with 28 digs and a pair of kills. Jenkins totaled 17 kills and 27 digs, and Mackenzie Sweigart coupled seven kills with 14 digs.

Riley Brinn recorded eight kills and five digs, and Jones totaled 23 digs. Dannah Persinger threw in nine kills, four blocks and four digs in the victory.

“We got some momentum towards the end of that third set and we were able to carry it over into the fourth and fifth games,” said Baker, the longest-tenured coach in District 1-AAA.

“Farragut is a good team and they blocked us really well.”

Despite her veteran status, going to state is a different animal for Baker. She knows her team will be ready.

“It really hasn’t set in yet,” Baker said. “I’m just so proud of these girls. Going into the season, I knew that we could have a good team, but I didn’t know we’d be good enough to make it to state.”