KNOXVILLE — Having quite a run lately against what is probably the program’s two biggest rivals, Hardin Valley Academy volleyball won a hard-fought four-set match at Bearden in District 4-AAA action Thursday, Sept. 9.
Edging the Lady Bulldogs in five sets earlier this season at HVA, then avenging a home loss to East Tennessee power Farragut by sweeping the Lady Ads 3-0 at FHS’s Lynn E Sexton Gymnasium, the Lady Hawks got the two-match sweep at BHS — but had to battle hard before winning game one 28-26 and game four 26-24.
“We’re getting there, but we still need to work on the basics,” said HVA head coach Joy Waller, whose team improved to 12-3 overall and 3-1 in district. “But I think they showed they can be down and come back together.
Upon seeing a younger Lady Hawks player “with her head down” during a Bearden momentum surge, “I said, ‘girl, get your head up,’ and then she did, because we’re a real mental team, I think,” said Kaylin Livingston, senior outside hitter.
In that deciding final game, Hardin Valley rallied from a 19-12 deficit to lead 23-21. Two kills and an ace from Keely Stillwell, a kill and a block from Sarah Gladwin, a block from Emelia Hoppe and a kill from Kaylin Livingston helped HVA battle back.
But the Lady Bulldogs (5-6 after the loss, 1-2 in district) took advantage of two HVA mistakes plus an ace from server Alina Turwoski to earn a game point at 24-23.
However, after Gladwin’s dink tied it, Hoppe’s ace gave the Lady Hawks a match point at 25-24. Gladwin’s kill ended the match.
About HVA’s recent surge, senior libero Kami Livingston said, “I think it’s mostly because, a few weeks ago, we had a team meeting about what we wanted to accomplish.”
“It stinks to be on the lower side of it, but they fought really hard, and we did a lot of good things to be (within) 28-26 and 26-24,” Bearden head coach Erin Biddle said.