Catholic vball 3rd in state

MURFREESBORO— Streaks are made to be broken, and last week the Knoxville Catholic High School volleyball team had a five-year string of state championship match appearances end.

Though the Lady Irish made it back to Murfreesboro to the Division II-AA State Tournament, “For us, we view anything less than a state championship as a big disappointing,” KCHS head coach Brent Carter said after falling 25-22, 25-20, 25-19 to Baylor Thursday, Oct. 22, in the loser’s bracket at Middle Tennessee Christian School. Catholic finished third, ending its season 22-9.

“We lost a class of six great seniors last year, but we have 14 kids on our roster and we had some you girls really step up for us,” Carter added.

It was the final match in an illustrious four-year career for senior libero Cassie Kuerschen, a Penn State commitment (formerly Tennessee).

“Cassie is our leader. She’s a great player and she’s a great kid,” Carter said.

“We had Grianne McGrath, who moved outside after playing in the middle her whole life.”

“Then we had some younger players like Ella Renfree and Morgan Phillips step up for us and then we had a freshman in Bellamy Parker come in this year and really help us.”

The Lady Irish opened the state tournament with a five-set loss to defending champion Briarcrest Christian School on Tuesday, Oct. 20. The Lady Irish fell 25-20, 19-25, 25-23, 17-25, 15-13.

Briarcrest went on to win the state title on Friday.

Catholic bounced back to take down St. Agnes 18-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-23.

Although the Lady Irish didn’t finish the 2020 season the way they might have liked, Carter found plenty of positives, mainly that Tennessee had a high school volleyball season at all.

“We were thankful that we were able to play a full season at all,” Carter said. “That was great because you have volleyball teams across the country that didn’t have a season at all. And you have some teams that started late.

“For us, it was great to get our kids out there and get them doing something, to get them some physical activity. The future also looks bright for us.”