Irish back to state

KNOXVILLE — They’re back — so what’s new?

Knoxville Catholic’s No. 1 East Region-seeded volleyball team again has reached the TSSAA state tournament in Murfreesboro, a feat head coach Brent Carter has accomplished each of his first seven seasons leading the Lady Irish — with one state title and three runner-up finishes.

St. Agnes of Memphis pushed Carter’s girls in the first and third sets of this Division II-AA sectional win-or-end-season match, but Catholic won 25-22, 25-14, 25-22 Saturday, Oct. 16, in the KCHS gym. The Lady Irish record improved to 31-9.

First pointing out “really great chemistry” among her teammates, Lady Irish senior defensive specialist Emma Meyer also said, “We’re a really hard-working team.”

In beating St. Agnes, the No. 3 Western seed, “It was definitely stat-wise the cleanest we’ve played against a good team,” said Grainne McGrath, a senior middle blocker. “We were really low error.”

“I think we communicated really well, really thought through it and played really good defense,” said Bellamy Parker, a sophomore outside hitter named regular season East Region MVP. “... We have lots of strong hitters.”

The return from injury of Devyn Dunn “was a game-changer for us,” Carter said. “Devyn is just a dyed-in-the-wool competitor who leads our team and sees things and does things than are just different than a lot of kids. We’ve got a couple of those. ...”