Knoxville Catholic High School volleyball head coach Brent Carter knew his team would face a tall order when it opened the season on the road against Concord Christian School Monday evening, Aug. 19.
But he also knew it was the type of test his squad would have to pass if another successful campaign is to be in the cards in 2019.
The Lady Irish passed the season-opening test, claiming a hard-fought 18-25, 25-14, 25-22 victory over the Lady Lions in a battle of 2018 state finalists before a packed house at CCS.
“That was a good one,” Carter said after the match. “They’re a great team and that was a good test.
“We were a little sloppy with our serves in that first set, and to Concord’s credit they took advantage of that. They’re a great team and they’re well-coached.
“(Coach Carmen Hochevar) is a great coach and she knows what she’s doing,” he added. “We served better in the second set and in set No. three, and those were a little more competitive for us after we cleaned things up.
“Then, we really had to hang on in that third set.”
The Lady Irish (1-0) had a 6-5 lead early in the opening game, but their service woes would eventually catch up with them as Concord Christian (0-1) would open a 17-11 advantage.
KCHS, however, would battle back to pull to within 17-15 thanks to three consecutive service aces by Sasha Cain. Her run would end when a serve hit the net, and the Lady Lions would answer with an ace of their own from Anna Komistek to make it 19-15.
CCS would close the set by scoring six of the last nine points.
In Game 2, the Lady Lions scored first and took a 3-1 advantage on an ace by Emma Meyer, but Catholic would rally to take a 17-9 lead and cruise from there. The Lady Irish would never trail in the closing set, but the Lady Lions didn’t make things easy and that left Hochevar happy.
“We have to play games like this,” she said. “Last year, we played Farragut and we pushed them, but I think we competed better tonight.”
Catholic’s Maya Alves, had 13 kills. “I think the thing we take from this is that we played a good team and we still have a lot of work to do,” she said.
Teammate Isabella Amet finished with nine kills and five digs.